COVID-19 has touched all of us in many ways. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has added powerful financial stresses to our university, school and department. In order to meet mandated expense reduction targets, we have engaged in a deliberate and comprehensive review of our activities. This review has resulted in reorganization of our administrative structure that we believe will lead to greater value and efficiency, while preserving our ability to responsibly serve our patients, teach and conduct research. However, restructuring will also necessitate reducing the number of administrators in our department. This process also uncovered positions that are unlikely to continue over the next year because of the way that COVID-19 has changed our practices. Finally, some positions are operating similar to their situation before the COVID-19 pandemic, but at a diminished capacity.
Next week, our leaders will be communicating with JHU employees in our department who are affected by these decisions. Health system employees affected by job termination or reductions in work hours received this news in earlier months (May and June). We recognize that our organization is designed to serve the suffering and reckons its successes by our mission-based accomplishments in patient care, research and education. We also know that these actions, while necessary, have human consequences for our colleagues. However, these decisions are based on the need to respond in a fiscally responsible manner to ensure we can continue to fulfill our mission-based mandates. Thus, it is with great frustration and sadness that we take these steps, which will affect some university employees in the Department of Medicine. We have asked our leaders to communicate directly with those who are touched by this process, and that a follow-up conversation with a human resources representative occur to provide a clear explanation of each employee’s rights, including in some cases severance pay and benefits. In cases where work schedule reductions are planned, we also anticipate as our clinical and research activities restart that these positions will return to full-time work over the next few months, and some by the end of summer.
We will hold a town hall session via Zoom on Wednesday, July 22 at 4:30 p.m. open to all employees, to address the current and probable future repercussions of COVID-19 on our department.
-Mark Anderson and Chris Durso