Some Mercyhealth hospital, clinic workers temporarily laid off during coronavirus shutdown

Dane County near top of state health rankings

MADISON, Wis. — A regional healthcare system with facilities in Rock and Walworth counties said in a release Monday that it has made the “difficult” decision to temporarily layoff workers effective Monday.

Mercyhealth said the temporary furlough program includes employees and partners who are “not providing direct patient care and for those that provide services that can be delayed.”

On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced he will order the closure of all nonessential businesses starting Tuesday due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“These are unprecedented times,” Mercyhealth officials said in the statement. “In order to make sure we are positioned to meet our patients’ expected needs for critical care services and survive the economic challenges presented by this COVID-19 situation, Mercyhealth had to make difficult decisions.

“We are confident that these efforts will ensure our compliance with governmental ‘shelter in place’ orders and our long-term successful operations.”

According to the release, system leaders said they don’t “expect this furlough to last more than a few weeks.”

Mercyhealth Vice President Barb Bortner said that the company wouldn’t confirm how many workers are included in the furlough, nor which communities that the group serves are affected by the furloughs.

According to the system’s website, Mercyhealth includes seven hospitals and 85 care locations throughout 50 Illinois and Wisconsin communities. It employs about 9,000. In Wisconsin, Mercyhealth includes facilities in Beloit, Brodhead, Delavan, Edgerton, Elkhorn, Evansville, Janesville, Lake Geneva, Milton and Whitewater.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a “stay-at-home” order that started at 5 p.m. Saturday and continues through at least April 7, the Chicago Tribune reported.