Are Hospitals Making Money With COVID-19 Patients? MMH says “no”
MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar) – Throughout the pandemic, people on both sides of the fence have taken to social media to ask hospitals about the money they are making from continued coronavirus hospitalizations.
Are hospitals making money with these patient admissions?
“I can assure you we are not,” Stephen Bowerman, director of operations at Midland Memorial Hospital, said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We are not making any money.”
The hospital says it has had to hire countless itinerant healthcare workers to help meet the demand for additional hospital beds amid the most recent surge. These workers are very costly to the hospital. Now city council and county commissioners have stepped up to help cover some of those costs.
“With the last two months and the census spike we’ve seen, we would have suffered significant losses if the city and county hadn’t provided more than $ 4.75 million in grants,” Bowerman said.
The hospital says the grant money will help cover the costs of travel nurses, as well as provide incentives for MMH staff who have worked tirelessly since cases started to rise again this summer.
The hospital says the loss of elective surgeries hits the hospital hard.
“We stopped doing elective cases overnight in our hospital. The surgical and procedural cases that we normally handle are the main money generators for the hospital, ”said Chief Medical Officer Dr Larry Wilson.
The elimination of these surgeries was a sacrifice for the hospital’s overall revenue, Wilson said.
Additionally, people on Facebook have asked the hospital about its reluctance to use alternative therapies to treat COVID-19 patients. Some have accused the hospital of avoiding using drugs such as ivermectin to keep patients in the hospital longer to cover the bill. The hospital says that’s just not true.
“There have been reports that we are deliberately not using some of the alternative therapies because it prolongs the hospital stay and makes money for the hospital. We make money based on the diagnosis. So, a COVID admission comes in and there is a bulk payment for it. It is a fixed number. So the longer a patient stays in the hospital, the more we lose. Unfortunately, COVID patients tend to have very long hospital stays due to their need for oxygen. There is no money to be made on prolonged hospitalization, ”Wilson said.
Wilson says 4% of American Medical Association providers support the use of alternative therapies to treat coronavirus patients.