COVID-19 pandemic financially impacting local hospitals

Graddy with Freeman added that the federal government relief funds have helped out, but things continue to change all the time.
Local Hospitaks

JOPLIN, Mo. – As people continue seeking care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight against the virus is impacting local hospitals financially.

“Our measures of revenues is about 15 million dollar reduction, simply because we had a period of time where patients were putting off their tests, not getting out things of that nature, but that’s been the impact” said Chief Financial Officer Steve Graddy.

Both Freeman and Mercy Hospitals in Joplin are experiencing a loss of revenue this year due to the pandemic.

It is in part to the postponement of non-emergency procedures and the additional resources needed of equipment and staff.

“It obviously had its impact with the loss of revenue but we’re a well-equipped level 2 trauma center. We’re prepared for what we need to do, we have adapted our rooms so we can have two COVID units within the hospital, one in the ICU, one in the medical floor, but that’s allowed us to be prepared. We’re a large enough system that we just adapt” added Graddy.

Mercy Hospital officials said in a statement:

“The postponement of non-emergency services earlier this year has had a significantly negative financial impact on Mercy and virtually every health care provider in the country. Since then, Mercy has seen patient volumes rebound to near normal levels after reactivating those services, and we are glad that patients are seeking out the care they need again. Because of the additional resources, both in terms of equipment and staff, required to care for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, it is not a profitable effort. In addition, the cost of caring for those without insurance — of whom there are more than usual due to job losses — often isn’t reimbursed. It is no secret that COVID-19 cases in our area have been on the rise recently. To ensure that local hospitals can adequately care for everyone who is hospitalized, whether for COVID-19 or something else, we need the help of our community. All of us can help make sure that we are able to continue our healing ministry and treating COVID patients at the same time by wearing masks in public, social distancing, hand washing and getting flu shots.”

Graddy with Freeman added that the federal government relief funds have helped out, but things continue to change all the time.

“We are blessed that the government provided some relief to hospitals early on during the onset of COVID, which allowed us to replace PPE and to not worry about the financial piece of COVID. Now the rules continue to change. There’s rules in April, new rules in September, another update in October, so it will be a couple months before we know the true outcome of those relief funds on what we can retain and put towards the covid relief.”