Marshfield Clinic responds to NewsChannel 7 about temporary pay cuts, benefit suspensions for employees

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 7:31 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 5:20 PM CST
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(WSAW) - Marshfield Clinic Health System responded Thursday to NewsChannel 7′s request for an interview about pay cuts and benefit suspensions it announced to its employees Wednesday, emphasizing that the changes were temporary.

In a notice to employees Wednesday, MCHS announced it will begin making cuts as early as Nov. 26. In a conference call with some employees Thursday, system leadership talked with staff. Staff 7 Investigates spoke with say it was a “free-for-all” of employee comments about the cuts, with people creating their own explanations for why the cuts were happening -- reasons MCHS stated in an email were “fabrications.” Employees, though expressed to 7 Investigates, that they are wondering what reason they have to remain in the system.

MCHS declined an interview request, but sent a statement:

“The temporary changes we made yesterday were implemented to help the Marshfield Clinic Health System weather financial challenges impacting the health care industry, which is facing rising supply and labor costs, low reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare, among other hardships. These temporary changes will help us achieve financial sustainability while maintaining patient care, access and safety. We are among the largest employers and economic drivers in the communities we serve, primarily rural communities who depend on having access to high quality care delivered locally. Our patients, employees and all who reside in those communities expect us to take the necessary actions to achieve financial sustainability.”

According to multiple news tips on Wednesday, employees received an outline of the plan detailing each individual item that will be affected.

The first is salary and pay decreases for MCHS leadership. The CEO, chiefs, presidents, and VPs will all see a 15% decrease while directors will see a 10% decrease. These will take effect on Dec. 3 for salaried prepaid or Nov. 26 for salaried postpaid or hourly. Leaders at the director level and above will be required to take two weeks’ worth of paid time off by Dec. 30 or get their PTO down to a remaining balance of 60 hours by Dec. 30, whichever is less.

Taking effect on Jan. 1, 401(k) employer match and employee retirement plans will be suspended. Employees will still be able to contribute to their 401(k) however. Additionally, employees participating in the deferred compensation plan will not have their contributions made for 2023.

Marshfield Clinic said in the letter that it was important for any decision to be a “shared sacrifice” among all employees from leadership to line staff. They also said the changes will be temporary, and there is an extensive financial improvement plan being put in place.

In the letter sent on behalf of Marshfield Clinic interim CEO Dr. Brian Hoerneman, it stated that the economy has presented challenges that require a review throughout the organization to find solutions to a financial turnaround.

Patients and employees have been asking 7 Investigates to interview with system leadership. 7 Investigates has been requesting interviews about the financial challenges and changes within the system since last fall, but MCHS has not granted that request.