UIHC begins phased approach to bringing employees back to work

In an email to staff, UIHC administrators outlined a three-phase process of recalling employees previously at home back to work.


Katie Goodale

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is seen on Sept. 17, 2018.

Caleb McCullough, Summer Editor

University of Iowa Health Care will begin recalling employees back to work in the coming weeks, according to an email sent to UIHC staff from UIHC CEO Suresh Gunasekaran and UI Vice President for Medical Affairs Brooks Jackson

The plan follows a phased approach, with a goal to return to a “new normal” by July 1.

The first phase, which started Tuesday, involves recalling staff that requires physical presence to do their jobs. This includes some patient care providers, maintenance and engineering staff, and some administrative employees.

RELATED: Harreld says UIHC is confident in supply of personal protective equipment to resume elective procedures

Staff assigned to UIHC’s labor pool, which allows employees from less essential services to fill in critical roles, will also be recalled in phase one. Staff that do not want to participate in the labor pool will have to use vacation time to continue being paid.

Phase two, which has no set start date, would involve the return of additional staff who have otherwise been able to work from home.

Employees may be brought in on a staggered basis and see flexible scheduling to maintain social distancing, according to the email. Many meetings will still be conducted virtually to aid in social distancing.

“We fully expect that, over time, more and more staff will return to their normal work location until we achieve full, in-person operations at a date in the future,” the email said.

Phase three, which has a target date of July 1, would see the full staff returned to UIHC clinics and facilities. This phase would involve the further use of telework and flexible scheduling to maintain social distancing.

The recalling of employees comes as UIHC begins to resume elective procedures after they had been shut down for more than a month to limit the spread of the coronavirus and preserve personal protective equipment (PPE). UIHC estimated a loss of $70 million from the dip in procedures.

UIHC Chief Medical Officer Theresa Brennan said in a May 12 Johnson County Public Health press conference that UIHC has begun elective surgeries in a limited capacity. Surgeons and department chairs decide whether procedures are appropriate, she said.

At a state Board of Regents meeting on April 30, UI President Bruce Harreld said he was confident UIHC had the PPE necessary to resume elective procedures.

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