April 16, 2020

MHS Employees are Benefiting From the Federal Paycheck Protection Program

Memorial Health System employees are benefiting from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the Coronavirus pandemic. Approximately 323 full and part-time employees are still working and receiving their normal pay, thanks to the PPP.

As the Coronavirus pandemic brought the economy to a screeching halt, many small businesses either closed their doors or saw an enormous decrease in activity. Memorial Health System was not immune. MHS entities experienced a drastic decrease in patient activity as elective procedures and non-emergent appointments were cancelled or postponed.

The PPP loan is a Small Business Administration loan administered by local banks. MHS worked with Pinnacle Bank, an SBA 7(a) lender, in Abilene, to apply for and receive approval for the funds.

The $3.52 million loan should be forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks, and as long as 75% of the money is used for payroll (MHS’s eligible payroll for eight weeks amounts to $2.64 million), and 25% is spent on rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

“We are very thankful we were able to obtain this loan,” Harold Courtois, MHS CEO said. “It has allowed us to delay any major changes to employment.” Before receiving the loan, MHS had begun the process of furloughing and decreasing hours for a number of employees due to low census. “We were able to bring back anyone who was furloughed and restore anyone’s hours that we had to reduce due to low volumes throughout the health system.”

Although census is low, MHS employees are staying busy. “Health system nursing staff, where census has slowed down, have been working in other areas like the emergency department, inpatient unit, or at Village Manor where additional help is needed,” Andrea Taylor, MHS Chief Operating Officer said. “We also now have clinical staff screening everyone who comes through the front door. As we work through this challenging time, employees are learning new tasks and helping out where they are needed.”

Looking ahead, after the eight weeks have passed, things may be drastically different, but no one really knows what is going to happen. “MHS will continue to look for ways to keep moving forward with as little disruption to staff as possible,” Taylor said. “We cannot thank our employees enough for the grace and compassion they have shown to each other.”

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