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WRHS announces organizational changes to counter COVID-19 impact

In a Thursday afternoon release, White River Health System (WRHS) announced steps toward securing the future of the organization as a locally governed, independent healthcare provider for the region. The organizational adjustments announced included a 25 percent reduction in the WRHS Leadership Team (Vice Presidents and Directors), extending furloughs, reducing hours, and eliminating some positions.

Regretfully, this process resulted in the termination of approximately 90 employees throughout the organization, WRHS said in the release. Like other healthcare systems across the country and the state of Arkansas, WRHS is reducing expenses to counter the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the release noted.

“While we are making changes to our operations, our commitment and ability to provide excellent patient care is unwavering,” said Gary Paxson, WRHS president and CEO. “Some consolidation to create a more efficient organization may take place; however, WRHS continues to provide the same comprehensive range of healthcare services to patients throughout north central Arkansas.”

The organization is reducing expenses to offset revenue lost from the suspension of elective procedures, decline in patient visits for routine and diagnostic care, and the additional expenses related to screening for and treating COVID-19.

“My heart goes out to the employees impacted by these changes,” said Paxson. “These decisions were made after much thought, consideration of all alternatives, and prayer in the wake of the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As difficult as these decisions are to make, it is demanded of us to make these decisions to continue our mission of caring for patients and our communities. WRHS, like many other businesses and healthcare systems, are taking similar actions during these challenging times. Our focus moving forward is to re-design our Leadership Team and organizational structure to be more efficient and nimble as we deliver the best care possible for our patients and communities.”

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