Hospitals across the country have felt a financial strain as they’ve braced for a surge in COVID-19 patients, and IU Health is no exception.
Brian Shockney is the IU Health South Central Region President. He says they’ve lost revenue from halted elective surgeries and lower general care.
The loss in revenue also comes at the same time as extra expenses are required for protective equipment for staff, and converting medical-surgical units to Intensive Care Units and isolation rooms.
“When you’re taking care of a COVID patient, it takes twice the number of caregivers to provide that care," he says.
Mike Craig is the group’s chief financial officer. He says first quarter operating income is down 49 percent from this time last year, and notes the difference is partly because expenses are up eight percent this quarter, to handle caring for COVID-19 patients.
“That’s probably close to a $60 million difference between where we were last year at this time and where we’re at currently,” Craig says.
Craig says IU Health kept all of their employees and did not reduce incomes.
IU Health has received about $68 million in federal relief supported under the CARES Act, according to Craig. More is expected to come, but he is unsure how much.
Their COVID-19 patient population has mirrored their general population of patients in terms of payer-mix, Craig says. Medicare, Medicaid, and self-pay make up about 70 percent of general patient population.
"That would be consistent with the COVID crisis as well," Craig says.
IU Health will begin doing limited elective surgical procedures and outpatient services May 4.
Shockney says one thing that will help with anticipated backlogs are ramped up telehealth services.
"We were doing less than 100 virtual visits a week prior to COVID-19 at our outpatient clinics," Shockney says. "Now we're doing over 1,800 a week."
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