Flattening the Curve: More Than A Million Health Care Workers Lose Jobs

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by DCG

A month ago I wrote, “When you prepare for something that is not coming, you just may destroy yourself.”

From that post:

“What has happened in our country – and in much of the world – due to shutting down economies, will make an excellent case study for future economic students. An excellent case study of WHAT NOT TO DO.

Using the IHME models, hospitals began postponing routine surgeries and treatments. It turns out that hospitals are not as full of the anticipated number of Wuhan virus patients. So what are they doing now?

From USA Today: “Thousands of US medical workers furloughed, laid off as routine patient visits drop during coronavirus pandemic.”

The fallout from trying to save our health care system continues. NPR reports that more than a million health care workers have lost jobs due to hospitals losing money from preparing for the massive Wuhan virus hospitalizations that never materialized.

Excerpts from their story:

“It’s an ironic twist as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the nation: The very workers tasked with treating those afflicted with the virus are losing work in droves. Emergency room visits are down. Non-urgent surgical procedures have largely been put on hold. Health care spending fell 18% in the first three months of the year. And 1.4 million health care workers lost their jobs in April, a sharp increase from the 42,000 reported in March, according to the Labor Department. Nearly 135,000 of the April losses were in hospitals.

The University of Cincinnati Medical Center is among many: The American Hospital Association recently predicted that U.S. hospitals and health systems would end up taking a $200 billion hit over a four-month period through June. Most of that money — $160 billion — is from lost revenue from more lucrative elective procedures.

“The only people who are coming into the hospitals are COVID-19 patients and emergencies,” says American Hospital Association Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “All of the so-called elective surgery, hips and knees and cardiac, etcetera, are no longer being done in most institutions around the country.”

Even as the pandemic tapers off in some places, hospital revenue losses will take time to correct, especially because hospitals may face a potential “payer mix” problem before Americans go back to work. Many people who lose their jobs will also lose employer-sponsored health insurance, and those private plans reimburse providers at much higher rates than publicly funded plans like Medicaid and Medicare.”

Read the whole story here.



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