The resiliency of Missouri’s hospitals and healthcare workers is being tested in ways we’ve never seen before, according to Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association. To battle against the coronavirus outbreak, they have stopped doing elective procedures to protect workers and patients, and to save personal protective gear. During a Capitol briefing, Kuhn says that move has taken a toll on hospital profits.
“We currently estimate that Missouri hospital revenues are off by more than 50%,” says Kuhn. “This amount is pegged at $32 million a day, nearly a billion dollars a month.”
Last week, Missouri healthcare organizations received about $618 million in federal aid through the recently-enacted coronavirus stimulus package. Kuhn says that money dried up in about ten days.
He says to respond to the respiratory disease, hospitals have also reconfigured their setup to boost the state’s hospital bed count, created remote testing sites and constantly track hospital capacity and personal protective equipment. They are working under heightened levels of stress, in an environment that is of great risk to their own health and with struggles of proper protection from COVID-19. Employees are working long hours and some of them have strained staffing levels.
Since 2014, ten rural Missouri hospitals have closed. Kuhn says the coronavirus related money problems have been especially tough on Missouri’s rural hospitals.
The financial pinch that hospitals are feeling from COVID-19 has led to the creation of a statewide task force.
“I salute the governor and his team for this, they’ve joined with us to create a financial task force to help us monitor the liquidity challenges of hospitals and to look at every federal and state program we can support and use to provide sustainability,” says Kuhn.
The Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Bankers Association will both be part of the panel.
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