Report: UW Medicine sees $500 million shortfall due to virus

SEATTLE -- UW Medicine, the Seattle-area health care system which has played a leading role in responding to the coronavirus outbreak, is now facing a huge financial hole because of the fallout from COVID-19.

UW Medicine’s losses could be more than $500 million by the end of the summer. That’s according to an email Monday from UW Medicine CEO Dr. Paul Ramsey that was obtained by the newspaper. Ramsey wrote that staff cuts, furloughs, hiring restrictions and a pay cut for senior leadership could all be implemented.

“The impact on UW Medicine is an extreme threat to our financial stability,” wrote Ramsey, who oversees a system that includes the University of Washington’s medical school, University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), Harborview Medical Center and Valley Regional Medical Center.

Ramsey said the system is facing the huge shortfall because less money is coming in because of things like non-emergency procedures being canceled and new expenses due to obtaining personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing.

UW Medicine’s total budget for fiscal year 2020 was $5.8 billion.

Ramsey wrote that UW Medicine will try to have some of its losses covered by federal and state programs, including FEMA, the CARES Act and the Medicare advance payment program. It will also pursue philanthropic donations.

Ramsey and other system executives will host town hall-style meetings with faculty and staff this week to discuss the situation.

In early March, UW Medicine was among the first in the state to set up drive-thru sites to test its employees and patients, as well as UW students, who were showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Researchers at UW Medicine are also working on a variety of potential treatments and vaccinations for the virus.