12 layoffs, furloughs in the spine & orthopedic industry


The widespread suspension of elective surgeries due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant economic difficulties for device companies and practices in the orthopedic industry.

In the past month, Becker's Spine Review has reported on 12 practices and device companies in the industry that have furloughed or laid off employees due to the financial challenges caused by the pandemic:

1. Clearwater-based Florida Spine Institute and its surgery center is laying off 62 employees and suspending operations due to mounting economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Cincinnati-based Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine furloughed 219 employees, including both administrative and clinical workers at its practice and surgery centers.

3. Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Overland Park, Kan., which specialized in spinal fusion procedures, closed its doors and terminated all employees. More than 100 physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers will be laid off over the next two weeks.

4. Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Fla., is furloughing more than 388 employees and cutting senior administrators' pay. The clinic saw revenues fall $600,000 per day after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' March 20 executive order required all hospitals to cease non-emergency procedures.

5. New England Orthopedic Surgeons in Springfield, Mass., is furloughing more than half its workforce.

6. Yakima, Wash.-based Astria Health has laid off multiple specialists — including two orthopedic surgeons — and closed several clinics as it prepares to file for bankruptcy in May.

7. Lehigh Valley Physician Group in Allentown, Pa., is furloughing 900 staff members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

8. Orthopedic implant maker Exactech laid off 54 employees at its Gainesville, Fla., headquarters and nine at its Sarasota, Fla., office, because of a rash of surgery cancellations amid the COVID-19 crisis.

9. Conformis furloughed about 80 employees and "substantially" all of its temporary workforce, effective March 23. The company's core hip and knee surgery products have been affected "in unprecedented ways" by the pandemic, President and CEO Mark Augusti said.

10. Medicrea's employees in France and Belgium have been on partial unemployment since March 16, with government-sponsored salaries. The spinal device company has 180 employees worldwide; 40 are in the U.S.

11. Missoula (Mont.) Bone & Joint has laid off more than 50 of its 200-plus employees since March 23. Laid off employees include physician assistants, nurses, surgical technicians, athletic trainers, patient transporters and front desk staff. The rest of the orthopedic practice's providers are working reduced hours.

12. McLaren Medical Group is furloughing several of its nearly 500 providers, including orthopedic surgeons. The group employs more than 300 physicians, and is evaluating each provider's patient volume to calculate the length of furloughs. Those with fewer patients are expected to be laid off longer.

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