MURRAY – The coronavirus is having a massive impact on hospitals in Utah, and not just because of the people sickened directly by the virus. Intermountain Healthcare says they’re losing millions in revenue, and they have to take big steps to handle the revenue shortfall.
Just between March and May, officials with Intermountain say nearly half of their surgeries, 47 percent, were canceled within their 23 hospitals. Plus, emergency room visits dropped by 26 percent, inpatients visits dropped by 20 percent and clinic visits fell by 31 percent. Patients are slowly starting to come back, but COO Rob Allen says it will take a while before things get back to normal.
“When you start to shut down sections of hospitals and clinics, then our caregivers don’t have the work they normally have,” he says.
In all, Allen says they’re projecting to lose $435 million in revenue, so cuts will have to be made. They wanted to keep take-home pay as intact as possible, but Allen says they’ll have to put a pause on their 401k donation matches.
This isn’t the first time the company has taken this measure.
Allen says, “It’s something we did in 2009 after the financial crisis of 2008. For a 12-month period of time, we removed the match. So, this year, for the third and fourth quarters, we will suspend the match in our 401k program.”
Allen also says they’re going to look over their expenditures with a fine-tooth comb to see where they can save money.
“We’re looking at all of our discretionary spending. We mentioned our capital spending will be pulled back this year. We’re looking at our contracting and our suppliers and how we might get better pricing there,” he says.
When the outbreak began, Allen says they knew nurses and clinicians would be out of work, unless they found something else for them to do. The company saw a huge spike in the number of people calling their hotlines, so they placed 300 employees there. Over 9,000 of their workers were reassigned to places like COVID-19 testing sites. Plus, 100 workers traveled to New York to help hospitals in need.
Allen says they didn’t want to cut jobs and furlough workers like many health care agencies have decided to do.
“We worry about any decision we make and how it impacts our caregivers. We want to celebrate them for the great work they’re doing,” he says.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
Resources for more information:
State of Utah: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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