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  • Any furloughs?

    I am part of a medium-sized outpatient organization as a pathologist. Our service is all outpatient, non-emergency biopsies. Since elective procedures are cancelled, I see a furlough in my future. It hasn't been done yet, but I don't see how an organization can still pay people with no money coming in. I know this will be temporary and this is what emergency funds are for. Any other organizations talking about doing this? Have you ever been furloughed as a physician?

  • #2
    Associate dentist here:

    Office that I work at is closed for 2-3 weeks except for emergencies, and I will not be paid during this time.

    I've seen some discussion about applying for unemployment. Undecided.

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    • #3
      I might be closing my office soon for lack of supplies and lack of patients. Don't know when I might reopen.

      The person who I invest with in hotels stated that the occupancy rate is now 10%, and that is on a good day. The normal is 65-75%. They have laid off a bunch of people and still cannot meet the mortgage payments and other expenses.

      Closures and lock downs and quarantines have consequences. I think certain physicians are not immune from it. I am not saying that it should not be carried out but it is not a benign thing that you read in WSJ. There are human faces behind those numbers out of work.

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      • #4
        Pushing hard to early FI yields an unintended benefit during these situations. After this the WCI and POF message of living like a resident, paying down debt and supersaving will have even more resonance.

        Would be a very unenviable situation to have +-student debt, +-large mortgage, 100% stocks and furloughed for months.

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        • #5
          The part time outpatient docs were all furloughed.

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          • #6
            There was a post recently concerning taking out disability insurance while furloughed. I can’t find the exact post now. But do a search of the last week or so and it should pop up.

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            • #7
              Spouse physician is shift based. If he’s sick for an extended time not sure how they will do that. Conversely if his partners are sick and he picks up shifts, then not sure If they will make it all balance somehow. Hasn’t been answered yet.

              this is what 6 month emergency fund is for I guess....

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              • #8
                It's pretty crazy to think about. I think most people feel that medical professionals have fantastic job security, and they do, but this will end up affecting a lot of medical professionals. This will probably be a driving factor for an even bigger push towards telemedicine that likely won't go away.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CordMcNally View Post
                  It's pretty crazy to think about. I think most people feel that medical professionals have fantastic job security, and they do, but this will end up affecting a lot of medical professionals. This will probably be a driving factor for an even bigger push towards telemedicine that likely won't go away.
                  Medicine might be partially recession resistant but not pandemic resistant.

                  Unfortunately it is the routine cases, the elective surgeries and routine therapies that bring in the money and pay the salaries for the majority of the physicians. Treating COVID is something only a few physicians and support staff will do. By cancelling or postponing the elective cases we may take home much less or even be laid off temporarily. And if we live in a HCOL area with high mortgages private school and other expenses, we might not even make ends meet.

                  Oh, the horror.


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                  • #10
                    If we go full Italy, every medical professional will be working, even if it's a hospital overflow tent.

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                    • #11
                      As a federal employee who specializes in health conditions that are for the most part non-urgent, I am shifting my focus (and the focus of all outpatient personnel in my department) from in person visits to calling patients at home, advising them on how they can take care of their chronic conditions at home, educating them on the importance of social distancing, and helping them decide when they need to come in to be seen. This is a valuable service as people are worried, don’t know what to do, whether they should go to an ER or urgent care, etc. So even though I am not at all up to date on care of the ICU patient, I can contribute by helping to control the masses. All doctors who aren’t on the front lines need to be making efforts towards this IMHO.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kamban View Post
                        I might be closing my office soon for lack of supplies and lack of patients. Don't know when I might reopen.

                        The person who I invest with in hotels stated that the occupancy rate is now 10%, and that is on a good day. The normal is 65-75%. They have laid off a bunch of people and still cannot meet the mortgage payments and other expenses.

                        Closures and lock downs and quarantines have consequences. I think certain physicians are not immune from it. I am not saying that it should not be carried out but it is not a benign thing that you read in WSJ. There are human faces behind those numbers out of work.
                        The good part is the sun is shinning on you and your family. If I might, many here have not seen how the "normal path" of significant financial reversals are not only one item:
                        Good "recession proof employment" - well, you covered that.
                        Income producing investment - well, I hope you didn't have a personal guarantee.
                        Solid portfolio - The market dive may continue.

                        Paid for "doctor's house" - This is a stretch. If you build cash and the house is not yet titled as a homestead, it's not protected.
                        At this point, the guarantee on the hotels could lead to the creditor filing (not saying they currently can). That house, that taxable portfolio, that income investment, and your employment all dry up at once. You have that lovely daughter, spouse and parents to support and the attorney's start filing stuff that kills your personal liquidity and you have a nice need cash drain, you need an attorney too. The life (liquidity) is sucked out and you are dry of cash. On top of that, the court house is closed and you can't pay for a thing because your E Fund is frozen too. The only safety is your retirement account. And your attorney advises you that using that would be a problem. The pain and damage is real even though its completely fixable. This is purely a fictional illustration for those that decide its best to get complex. It can backfire.

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                        • #13
                          Patient volumes down >60%. Which I am okay with in terms of limiting exposure. Cutting staff hours because there is no work for them, & less money to pay them with.

                          I am happy I am generally cheap-, I mean, frugal. (Though "cheap" is more accurate.) I'll be okay for the next several months in the worst case. And I honestly think my patients will be walking in at normal levels in 2-3 weeks from now.
                          "Oh look another bajillion point declin-Ooooh!!! A coupon for pizza!!!!" <--- This is what everyone's IPS should be. ✓✓✓

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                          • #14
                            I’m curious how hospitals are adapting to this. In private practice you can be immediately flexible with salaries, but when you’re a hospital in contract with hundreds of providers on a higher fixed salary what levers do you pull in order to preserve cash? Firing/furloughs, taking on debt, and redirecting capital expenditures come to mind. Any other thoughts?

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                            • #15
                              one tool they seem to use is to fire people lower on the totem pole and then make more highly skilled employees do those lower jobs in addition to their own

                              fire transport then have rad techs get their own patients

                              fire janitors and make nurses clean the OR between cases

                              fire lab techs and make pathologists gross in specimens

                              fire ward clerks and make nurses answer phones and enter orders

                              then they complain about how everyone is inefficient and doesn’t meet productivity targets so they cut staff or make them flex out

                              all of which makes us woefully unprepared for what may come

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