- Revenue from delayed elective procedures is more likely than lost primary care revenue to show up after the COVID-19 pandemic abates, a hospital leader says.
- Hospitals must prioritize their expenditures, given revenue decreases.
- Vendors may be willing to renegotiate payment terms during the crisis.
Like most hospitals across the country, 25-bed Henry County Health Center in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, has seen revenues plummet since March 16, when the COVID-19 pandemic halted elective procedures. As a result, gross revenues are off by 50% from the same period last year, said CFO David J. Muhs.
“Right now, what we are planning is a full shutdown of elective procedures until the end of May,” he said.
Meanwhile, 49-bed Fort Memorial Hospital in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, has seen gross revenues fall by 60% since March 23, when the state’s “safer at home” order canceled nonessential business activity for at least a month. James Nelson, senior vice president, finance and strategic development, thinks some revenue from elective procedures is delayed rather than lost. But the missed primary care revenue is gone forever.
“The elective procedures will filter back in over a couple of months” after the shutdown ends, he said. “But for primary care, we gave it away for free through our nurse triage line or patient portals or phone calls. We’ll never see any net revenue for it, but the cost structure didn't really change.”