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We write with an update on necessary actions taken today to provide a stable financial foundation to support the excellence of the UW Medicine clinical, research and educational programs. These actions are needed due to the unprecedented financial challenges related to COVID-19.

We have already announced several actions, including reduction of compensation for senior leadership, system-wide expense reductions that support more “lean” operations, limiting new recruitments to positions of critical importance and postponement of non-mission critical expenses. These actions were taken to lessen direct impact on our professional and classified staff. The decisions are guided by our values as a healthcare system whose mission is to improve the health of all people.

Like the majority of healthcare organizations throughout the country, UW Medicine is now implementing temporary furloughs to help minimize the impact of our financial losses. In planning for these furloughs, leadership considered many factors, including where we expect to see increased volumes over the coming weeks and months and the need to maintain appropriate staffing to best serve our patients.

Today, we began informing approximately 1,500 individual professional staff and classified non-union team members at UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, UW Neighborhood Clinics, Faculty Practice Plan Services, UW Medicine Shared Services and Airlift Northwest who will be impacted by these furloughs. Also, per our collective bargaining agreements, the University of Washington started impact bargaining today with our union partners. Subject to bargaining, we expect to make individual notifications to classified employees starting next week. The UW School of Medicine is still finalizing its cost reduction plans.

The staff furloughs are temporary and allow people to keep their benefits, including health insurance. Employees may also be able to take advantage of enhanced unemployment payments during this time. For additional information, please see the Employee Furlough FAQ located on the UW Medicine Shared Services intranet site.

One way to mitigate the impact of mandatory furloughs is through voluntary furloughs and FTE reductions. Employees who would like to take voluntary furloughs or FTE reductions are encouraged to talk with their manager this week. Voluntarily furloughs are available in one-week increments, Monday to Sunday, starting no sooner than May 25. In most departments, employees may volunteer from one week up to a total of eight weeks. If you are interested in volunteering, please email your request to your department manager and specify the dates you would like to be furloughed or the amount by which you would like to reduce your FTE. If you do not have access to email, then your request must be in writing to your manager.

Like the COVID-19 pandemic, the actions being taken today are unprecedented for UW Medicine, and we deeply regret the negative impact they will have on members of our team. We know that it is because of your hard work and dedication to our patients and each other that UW Medicine has been recognized as a national leader in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are very proud of what we have accomplished together for our patients and community, and we are confident that we can return to financial stability to support our mission to improve health for all people.

Thank you.


Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
CEO, UW Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine,  University of Washington

Lisa Brandenburg
President, UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics
Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Washington​

Timothy H. Dellit, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, UW Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Washington
President, University of Washington Physicians