This past week Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital employees were blindsided with talk of pay cuts, no raises and not matching 401k contributions in an email from their executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The email by Michael Gentry was sent with no prior notice of change in pay, and it talks of an “average of 40-45% drop in patient volumes.”

It also states, “If patient volumes return at our projected rates we will still be below revenue expectations by $778 million.”

“We will therefore need to lower our cost structure to match demand,” it continues.

It also states they plan to modify services with preferences for digital and/or remote interaction — “and grow those services.”

They also have instituted a hiring freeze and eliminated most purchase labor, as stated in the email.

Other financial measures in the email include:

• Pay cuts of 10% to 20% for the executive and senior leadership team;

• Forgo annual market and merit salary increase for all employees;

• Physician compensation adjustments to achieve an overall 10% reduction;

• 403b and 401K matching contributions will be suspended;

• Decrease or eliminate overtime;

• A moratorium on conferences, continuing medical education and travel; and

• Departments will need to ensure the hours worked “takes into consideration the volume and cost structure demands.”

And, this is just Phase One.

The email talks of a Phase Two that will target real estate, construction, capital projects and analysis of all contracts and vendor agreements.

“We are working to balance the recommendations with the needs of our team members, those we serve and the community. The Task Force will reassess our projections on an ongoing basis and will have continued updates in the weeks ahead. It is our desire to reinstate the measures impacting team members as soon as possible,” Gentry states in his email to Sentara employees.

It also notes in the email that it was sent to all employees.

Attempts to reach Joni Henderson, interim customer development and marketing consultant, for further comment and details on the situation were unsuccessful as of press time Sunday.