In perhaps the most ironic twist of the pathetic saga of coronavirus madness, we are destroying our health care system. There has been all this talk of overwhelming the health care system, which hasn’t happened anywhere, so that people might think all health care providers and facilities are extremely busy. The opposite is true. Most hospitals are empty. The despicable fear-mongering about how terrible the virus is, coupled with stay-at-home and lockdown orders have convinced the public that they are going to get sick and die. So of course, people are avoiding doing many things, including seeking health care that they need. In addition, the governments strongly encouraged facilities to stop doing elective procedures. The result is that we have a health system which is having a revenue crisis. Health care workers are being laid off at an alarming rate. Some hospitals have already filed for bankruptcy and many others will.
One of the businesses I work with manages transplants and other complex therapies. We work with the most prestigious medical institutions and physicians around the country. One of them told us that their institution had so few patients that they are going to go broke and have to shut down. This physician, an absolute top expert in his field, practicing at one of the very most elite academic medical centers, said that while coronavirus is terrible, we have to open back up and restart the economy or we won’t have a health care system. He is not alone in this concern, google and you will find a number of articles on this theme. And increasingly doctors are concerned that patients who really need health care are too fearful to get it and that this will lead to exacerbations of illness and even death. But of course, those deaths don’t mean anything, only the ones due to coronavirus count.
Join the discussion 2 Comments
I texted my niece who’s a critical, long term, care RN at Minnesota’s designated Covid19 hospital. Bethesda. She’s laid off! I’m waiting till June to see a cardiologist for a work up. I’m 66! I’ve got to wait till mid May to get a 2nd opinion on my coming cataracts! Mayo Clinic has furloughed a lot of staff.
Same thing with the blood banks. The public service commercials are describing perilously low blood inventories, but when I went in last week to donate, the staff mentioned they are working to balance donation rates with demand, as they have ample supplies of blood. No elective surgeries, low demand for blood.
Many stories of screenings, stress tests, knee replacements, cancer surgeries being deferred to avoid over-burdening the health care system. But at what future “cost” to the patients, besides the lost revenue to these health care providers? Anyone trying to measure that? (We need a model……..) Does Minnesota Revenue or DEED not have any voice these days in St. Paul?
But when you work in government, are suspicious of the private sector anyway, and have no appreciation of how revenue or cash flow is the lifeblood of a small business or a healthcare provider, why do you care? You don’t understand and make no effort to try to do so. If state revenues decline, you just raise taxes, no problem, right? What was so hard about that?