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Tenet Healthcare to Furlough 500 Workers Because of COVID-19

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Tenet Healthcare Corp., which operates one of the largest networks of outpatient surgery centers and hospitals, announced it will cut more than 500 positions as it struggles with shortages and cutbacks caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Company officials did not say how many of its patients are covered by workers' compensation insurance. But its United Surgical Partners International has ambulatory surgical centers in 28 states, where injured workers often receive outpatient procedures.

The centers have faced revenue shortfalls because so many surgeries have been postponed during the virus outbreak, according to news reports

Dallas-based Tenet, which also operates 65 hospitals in nine states, has not been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, but faces shortages of protective gear for its health workers, officials said.

"I really do think it's important that people realize we are clearly feeling the pressure that the entire health care delivery system is feeling and facing," Tenet CEO Ron Rittenmeyer said on an investor call Thursday morning, according to Modern Healthcare magazine.

The company is treating some 450 COVID patients now and has another 1,200 who may be infected. None of the furloughed employees are directly involved in patient care.

Rittenmeyer said the company is trying to raise cash by issuing $500 million in debt and by selling its hospitals in Memphis, Tennessee. The federal coronavirus relief act also should provide more than $1.5 billion in advanced payments from Medicare, the company said.

Rittenmeyer urged federal officials to provide further grant money during the crisis to assist medical systems.

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