At its October meeting, the Bothwell Regional Health Center Board of Trustees voted to approve a mid-year bonus and pay increase for employees as special recognition for remarkable service.
All part- and full-time employees who are active as of Dec. 15 will receive a 2 percent bonus based on their earnings in 2021. Board Chair Stafford Swearingen said the Senior Leadership Team recommended the bonus for the health center’s 900-plus employees after a status review of the hospital’s current budget.
“During planning for the 2021-2022 budget in May, we were extremely conservative and only included a 1 percent increase in salaries not knowing how we may continue to be impacted by the pandemic,” Swearingen said. “Since then, there’s been a return of patient volume to pre-Covid levels in most areas, which is allowing us to reward the team in this way.”
Swearingen said the bonus is a thank you for employees who have stayed with Bothwell during a long and arduous response to a worldwide pandemic. The board also approved a $1 per hour increase for all non-contracted employees beginning Jan. 2, 2022.
“Our employees are the backbone of our organization, and they’ve answered the call time and time again,” he said. “Many have and continue to step up in a number of ways including working extra shifts or covering for coworkers who were out or during staffing shortages all while continuing to care for our patients, communities and each other.”
In April 2020 when patient volume plummeted due to a postponement in elective surgeries and the stay-at-home order, Bothwell was forced to furlough 50 employees, implement a hiring freeze, temporarily suspend federal student loan payments, delay wage increases and temporarily stop the 403(b) employer match for retirement plans. Other actions included voluntary pay reductions for senior leaders, directors and physicians. Most of those measures have since been restored.
“Our employees absolutely deserve this bonus and are real heroes,” Swearingen said. “The past 18 months have been extremely challenging—clinically, operationally, emotionally and financially, and they have demonstrated what is possible when we work together. We all owe them our thanks for helping keep Bothwell open and caring for patients.”