Epic won’t require employees who feel uncomfortable working on campus to return to work, email shows

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MADISON, Wis. — Epic is still moving forward with its phased approach to have staff return to campus, but will no longer make its plan mandatory.

Earlier this month, the company announced it would require its 9,000 workers to return to work by Sept. 21, with the exception of those who need to stay home with their children or who have a high-risk medical condition.

Epic employees are still asked to return to work in person as originally scheduled, but those who have concerns are no longer required to do so, according to an email sent to employees Saturday night.

“We recognize that you might feel apprehension when returning to work for a variety of reasons,” the email reads. “This is a novel situation for everyone, and these feelings of uncertainty are understandable.”

Friday evening, a Dane County supervisor asked Public Health Madison & Dane County to look into Epic’s plan to bring employees back to the company’s campus. According to the email obtained by News 3 Now, Epic has reached out to PHMDC to make sure their plan is in compliance with the health department’s orders.

Epic sent a letter to Public Health on Saturday night, acknowledging it received the department’s letter on Thursday regarding the company’s plan to return staff to campus.

“We at Epic care deeply about the health of our staff, their families, the broader Dane County community, and the hundreds of millions of patients cared for using our software,” the letter read. “We’ve worked tirelessly over recent months to ensure we provide a safe environment that enables our staff to do critical healthcare and public health work. We are confident that we have been and will continue to be in compliance with PHMDC’s Emergency Order #8.”

Epic said it has been working with health experts to review its safety plans, including Dr. Stephen Ostroff, who previously served as the Acting Health Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. The company also said it hired Dr. Nicky Quick, the former top public health official of Orange County, as an internal public health expert.

“Business across the country are reopening. In working together,” the letter reads, “we believe we can help establish a model for similar businesses of how to successfully bring people back to work in a way that is in the best interest of public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Epic’s return-to-work plan includes daily self-assessments of health, mandatory masks when indoors, physical distancing, regular hand washing and meeting outdoors whenever possible, according to the email obtained by News 3 Now.