A major medical staffing company just slashed benefits for doctors and nurses fighting coronavirus

Yes, you read that right. The company, Alteon Health, slashed benefits to emergency room healthcare workers during the pandemic. These emergency room healthcare workers are literally the most important people in the world right now.

Isaac Arnsdorf at ProPublica:

Alteon Health, a staffing company backed by private-equity firm Frazier Healthcare Partners, will cut salaries, time off and retirement benefits for providers, citing lost revenue. Several hospital operators announced similar cuts.

Most emergency room providers in the US work for companies like Alteon – staffing companies with contracts with hospitals. Coronavirus is eating into those companies' profits.

Steve Holtzclaw, CEO of Alteon Health, delivered bad news to employees Monday: “Despite the risks our providers are facing, and the great work being done by our teams, the economic challenges brought forth by COVID-19 have not spared our industry.”

The memo announced that the company would be reducing hours for clinicians, cutting pay for administrative employees by 20%, and suspending 401(k) matches, bonuses and paid time off. Holtzclaw indicated that the measures were temporary but didn’t know how long they would last.

In other words: Thanks for risking your lives and families to save the rest of us. Now go fuck yourselves.

The cuts are coming at a time when these emergency room workers are accruing the cost of living apart from their families to avoid infecting loved ones.

One doctor said he’s getting a $20,000 annual pay cut.

He said, “This decision is being made not by physicians but by people who are not on the front lines, who do not have to worry about whether I’m infecting my family or myself. If a company cannot support physicians during the toughest times, to me there’s a significant question of integrity.”

That’s far more diplomatic than I would use.

Hospital operators, including Tenet Healthcare, Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Atrius Health, are also announcing cuts.

Another Alteon physician said he had been planning to ask for time off to go help out in New York, where the coronavirus outbreak is the worst in the nation. Now he has no paid time off, and he thinks his employer won’t support him if he gets sick. He said if his pay drops he’ll have to look for a new job.

“I have a huge loan payment. I have rent. I have groceries. I’m not going to sacrifice my life for when I get sick and they’re going to say, ‘You were replaceable,’” the physician said. “I cannot believe they did that to us."

Tell me again why it would be bad for the US to have Medicaire for all?

Via Cory Doctorow’s Pluralistic

Mitch W @MitchW