LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) — Baptist Health released a statement today regarding COVID-19. You can read that statement below.

Our caregivers are the reason why people choose Baptist Health. During this time, protecting their health, safety, and jobs is paramount so we can continue providing great care in the future. As conditions are changing quickly, we are prioritizing some operations to place resources where they are needed most.

Before we made the decision to limit elective cases, patients had begun to cancel procedures and testing. We’ve seen regular clinic and specialty visits diminish as well. While these events have helped us to preserve personal protective equipment for our employees and prevent exposure to staff and patients, it has created a business challenge. Other hospitals and health systems are experiencing this as well.

Many employees have already had their hours reduced or shifts canceled due to the reduction in services being provided each day. We must respond to these financial challenges while taking care of our people and protecting our future. Beginning this week, Baptist Health will begin to identify employees who will be furloughed on a temporary basis. Those impacted by this will still be eligible to retain their core benefits. We will continue to hire bedside caregivers and those critical to ongoing operations.

It is our hope that these actions, along with the support from recently passed federal legislation, will minimize the financial impact to our employees and Baptist Health during this difficult time.

Arkansans are relying on us to be steady and focused. Our staff is working tirelessly to respond to this crisis and ensure that we are thinking ahead to be even stronger in the coming weeks and months.