UTICA, N.Y. -- The coronavirus could threaten the paychecks of the very frontline healthcare workers caring for the sick. Hospitals nationwide have had to furlough workers, in order to deal with a lack of elective surgeries, and subsequent loss of millions of dollars.
"Since the beginning of March through the end of May, we are projecting that we could lose up to $31 million," says MVHS President and CEO, Darlene Stromstad. "Our expenses are $48 million a month and when you don't have the volume to support your overhead, you immediately take a hit, so for us, our hit projected from the end of March to the end of May is $31 million."
In addition to the loss of revenue due to the suspension of election surgeries and procedures, MVHS spent $2.6 million on equipment and other related expenses to prepare for a surge in non-local coronavirus patients that that never came.
"We have stepped forward and said 'if you need to send us 15 patients here and 15 patients there, we would step up and take them' but that hasn't seemed necessary," said Stromstad. "They have not come to us for volunteers, either, and we have offered that."
MVHS received $9 million from the federal government on Thursday. While they're grateful for the much-needed infusion, Stromstad points out-it's less than two weeks of the health system's expenses. Unpleasant choices lie ahead.
"We don't want to go to the layoffs. We certainly might have to do some furloughs, like so many other hospitals in this part of NY," said Stromstad.
Stromstad says the hospital is trying to make adjustments where they can, in order to deal with the loss in revenue from the suspension of elective surgeries. When she reflects on the MVHS workforce, it's with pride.
"Really i think together we mitigated what could have been a catastrophe for our community. And I think we're struggling with making those improvements now to what our future is but we are really proud of this community and we're really proud of ourselves."