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CCHS experiencing the COVID-19 financial plummet


April 30, 2020

-File photo

DAYTON–March net patient revenue, $242,000, for Columbia County Health System (CC HS), is down due to reduced hospital admittance, appointments for the clinic, and for various outpatient therapy, labs, imaging and procedures and is expected to continue to fall through the end of April.

Shane McGuire, CCHS CEO, has been working with the hospital accounting department to secure a contract with Haggerty and Associates who will then contract with FEMA on behalf of CCHS to get federal aid due to the coronavirus. A motion was made to approve the contract with Haggerty Consulting by the CCHS board, and it was approved.

CCHS received their first allocation of $644,000 from Health and Human Services from the funding initiative for hospitals that was passed, according to the March financial reports. Additional allotments from the fund is expected. McGuire is also regularly lobbying the local and state representatives to support additional funding for hospitals. CCHS was able to receive a substantial prepayment from Medicare, but the intention is to only use the funds as an emergency fund because to use any use of it would have high interest rates and would need to be paid back.

Some funding was also granted from the Day Estate Trust ($87,000) and Washington Health Care Authority emergency fund ($142,000.)

Also, collections from January and February business has also been a help to March's revenue. Gross patient revenue for March was still $304,000 below budget so even with these funds, additional financial help will be needed.

CCHS continues to prepare for additional Coronavirus cases in our community. During the April Board Meeting, Chief of Staff Kyle Terry, M.D., reported that care providers, nurses and respiratory therapists at the Dayton General Hospital have been trained to use the two ventilators they have for use in case of possible critical Coronavirus cases. Other directives have been given for the transfer of patients from Booker Rest Home directly into the hospital, avoiding the emergency department while adhering to precautions against the virus.

Staff also now screens patients, including outpatients at the main entrance for possible symptoms of the virus before being allowed admittance. Once screened, all patients have to wear masks, and all staff are required to wear masks when engaging with patients.

The clinic is still receiving patients through "Virtual Visits". The clinic has seen over 40 patients by conferencing and another 40 by phone. "Something that should have taken six to eight months to plan and launch was actually done in two weeks," McGuire said. "It's amazing."

The clinic team is organizing a plan to integrate patients back into being seen for regular appointments by tracking when they are due for routine or wellness check-ups, as well see those who have chronic health issues to avoid unnecessary complications. According to McGuire, getting patients back into the clinic will help bring back revenue.

According to McGuire, surgical masks have been received from the Washington State Hospital Association. He also reported that Ashley Strickland, the County Emergency Manager has been regularly securing additional Personal Protective Equipment. "Ashley continues to work really hard for our community and really should be commended for his tireless efforts," McGuire said.

The Dayton General Hospital continues to receive exposure representing rural hospitals. Since the article in the Washington Post, there has been another one written for Politico Magazine.


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