Dear Fenway Health Community,
We are writing with an important update.
As you know, the COVID-19 outbreak has required us to rethink the way we operate. Many of our staff are working from home and some are now caring for patients and clients via our new telehealth services. But the state’s stay-at-home advisory—which is critical to containing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities—has significantly impacted our business operations.
Our dental, optometry, and acupuncture services, which cannot be effectively converted to telehealth, are now operating below 10 percent of normal volume and medical patient care visits are down significantly. Our biomedical research studies have also been scaled back.
Like other health care systems in the state that are not providing acute direct care for COVID-19 patients, Fenway Health is now operating at an unsustainable revenue deficit. As a result, this week we are furloughing 70 staff with job responsibilities that cannot be fulfilled by working from home or via telehealth. They will join the 68 staff members who were placed on furlough after we temporarily closed each of our Boomerangs stores in response to the public health emergency in March. Fenway Health CEO Ellen LaPointe is also taking a reduction in compensation.
These measures are temporary. We expect to invite every staff member who has been placed on furlough to return to work when this crisis is behind us and we are able to return to normal business operations.
Our first priority is and always will be meeting the promise of our mission, which is to enhance the well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community and all people in our neighborhoods and beyond through access to the highest quality health care, education, research and advocacy. We are working to reduce community spread of COVID-19 by caring for our patients, sharing important information with the LGBTQIA+ community and people living with HIV about their potential increased vulnerability to complications from COVID-19, and lifting up the cares and concerns of our community’s most vulnerable members in all of our work. We are also diligently preparing ourselves for a post-COVID-19 world by making systems improvements that will outlast this crisis, and carefully stewarding our resources in order to remain a financially healthy and strong organization with the assets needed to carry us forward for decades to come.
We can be certain of two things. The first is that the COVID-19 crisis will pass. The second is that Fenway Health will emerge from this crisis even more resilient and better able to meet the needs of the communities we serve going forward.