COVID Latest Threat to Weakened Rural Health Care

To conserve cash, more than fifty percent of rural hospitals nationally have furloughed or laid

To conserve cash, more than fifty percent of rural hospitals nationally have furloughed or laid off staff members, which includes Margaret Mary Hospital in Batesville, IN St. James Parish in New Orleans and Lexington Hospital in Lexington, NE, suggests Morgan.

San Luis Valley Health and fitness in rural Alamosa, CO, in the southern central element of the point out, has not witnessed the predicted surge of COVID-19 patients. The regional medical center, which serves about 55,000 people, experienced witnessed only 11 confirmed COVID-19 scenarios and two fatalities by April 28, suggests SLV Health and fitness Chief Health care Officer Carmelo A. Hernandez, MD.

The medical center organized for the pandemic in mid-March by increasing its forty nine-mattress ability, expanding the quantity of ventilators, and instruction companies to operate in distinct parts. The companies canceled all elective surgical procedures, treatments, and imaging, which has taken a weighty economic toll, he suggests.

“We commenced out in a fantastic economic scenario — we experienced 124 days of income reserve — but the effect has been pretty remarkable. The affected person quantity has dropped by at minimum fifty percent in equally the ER and outpatient clinics, from 50 to twenty-twenty five patients daily in the ER, with the lowest rely of 13 daily patients, and from 325 visits daily to about 150 visits in the outpatient clinics,” suggests Hernandez.

But hospitals really do not get paid out for their companies until eventually about sixty days later, suggests Hernandez. He anticipates the profits losses will exhibit up in late May and early June. In the meantime, the medical center has place value-conserving steps in spot, these kinds of as decreasing complete-time staff members hours and inquiring staff members to just take go away with out pay back.

The predicted surge of COVID-19 patients also has not strike Ferry County Memorial Hospital in Republic, WA, a critical entry medical center that serves about seven,500 people in the northern element of the point out. The county has only just one beneficial scenario and no fatalities.

Even now, the medical center experienced to prepare by acquiring additional ventilators, own protecting devices (PPE), and medicines for intubation. In the meantime, the medical center canceled all elective surgical procedures, treatments, and imaging, which has taken a enormous economic toll.

“Our profits is down 38% in late April, compared to wherever we were being a 12 months in the past. To operate the medical center costs us $38,000 daily,” suggests Richard Garcia, DO, the hospital’s health-related director and chief of staff members.

To maintain patients secure, the staff members ramped up telehealth visits. “We get compensated $ninety five for every telehealth visit compared to $a hundred and eighty for frequent visits — it is a fraction of the past company payment,” suggests Garcia.