Myrtue receives emergency funding

    HARLAN – Myrtue Medical Center has received federal stimulus dollars recently to help offset what’s projected to be considerable net revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Myrtue is among hospitals in the country to receive emergency hospital funding under the federal stimulus CARES Act. The Department of Health and Human Services distributed $1,014,392 to the hospital on April 10.
    As many rural and critical access hospitals have been particularly devastated by this pandemic, $10 billion also was directed to rural acute care general hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Community Health Centers located in rural areas.
    On May 6, Myrtue received $3,965,270 of these rural funds. Emergency funds will be used to help offset lost revenues.
    Myrtue Medical Center CEO Barry Jacobsen reported this week that the financial impact of COVID-19 on Myrtue’s health system in March and April was a net revenue loss of more than $2.2 million. This financial impact includes the effect of canceled services due to COVID-19, such as elective surgeries, which were put on hold the second week of March under Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ proclamation.
    Following the governor’s updated proclamation allowing hospitals to partially resume elective surgeries, Myrtue re-opened the surgery department on May 4.
    Taking several factors into consideration, including conservation of PPE (personal protective equipment), Myrtue has had about a 75 percent decline in surgeries, as compared to pre-COVID-19 and since re-opening on May 4. Patient visits across the healthcare system currently are down 31 percent. Laboratory services remain down 57 percent.
    There is much uncertainty over how quickly patient volumes will return to normal and the ongoing financial impact. Projected revenue losses to the hospital related to COVID-19 through June is estimated between $4.6 million and $5.4 million. Some of this revenue loss has been offset by a reduction in expenses through the furlough of employees and lower medication and supply costs related to reduced patient activity.  
    As part of its business resumption plan, nearly 60 percent of furloughed employees had returned as of May 4.  Myrtue returned remaining furloughed employees on May 11.
    “May 11 also was the start of National Hospital Week, a time that we intentionally pause to recognize the significance of hospitals, health systems, healthcare personnel and every person involved in keeping our communities safe and well. This was an important time to have all of our staff present,” said Jacobsen.
    “We’re all experiencing new challenges during this time, and Myrtue’s employees and the members of our community have shown that we’re better working through it together.”
Additional points
    •  The American Hospital Association (AHA) reports the financial impact of COVID-19 on America’s hospitals and health systems alone could reach more than $200 billion through June.
    •  The estimated cost of COVID-19 on Iowa’s hospitals through June is estimated at $1,210 million in net revenue lost. Source: CLA (Clifton Larson Allen Wealth Advisors, LLC). IHA engaged Clifton Larsen Allen (CLA) to provide financial modeling to analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to short and long-term finances of Iowa’s hospitals.
    •  Approximately 2,500 handmade cloth facemasks have been donated to the healthcare system for use by staff, patients and visitors. The community has shown great compassion and servant leadership in protecting the healthcare workers and the community.

This article is available free as a service to our community during the coronavirus outbreak.

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