COOKEVILLE – Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) Paul Korth has announced that CRMC expects to suffer a net loss of approximately $15 million as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the past couple of weeks, our volumes here at Cookeville Regional Medical Center have dropped by about 50%, with many of our other outpatient departments dropping by more than that. Some have basically closed completely,” said CRMC CEO Paul Korth.
Before COVID-19, CRMC was doing over 200 images a day, and now it is experiencing an 85% decrease in volume. The hospital has also gone from 30 surgeries a day to between five and eight, a 73% decrease.
“It’s a drastic cutback,” said Korth.
This drop in volume resulted in net losses of $4 million in March and an estimated $11 million in April.
One of the biggest costs to CRMC is the increase in the price of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In the last month, the cost of PPE is up 13 times the cost in February.
PPE that is involved in treating COVID-19 patients has seen the most significant increase with N95 masks increasing from $0.61 to $7 each, surgical masks increased from $0.04 to $1.50 each and isolation gowns have increased from $0.36 to $8.50 each. This means that the cost for a staff member to enter the room with a COVID patient has increased from $2 to $25 per employee for each time they enter the room.
In addition to the cost increase, the usage has dramatically increased. In March, staff used nine times the usual number of N95 masks, and in April, that increased to 14 times the usual amount. Other PPE had similar increases.
CRMC has treated eleven inpatients with COVID-19. Five have been discharged.
CRMC has furloughed approximately 400 of the medical center’s 2,400 employees and reduced the hours of several hundred more in an effort to cut costs.
Korth emphasized that the hospital’s emergency department and urgent care clinic are both open and operating as usual. He urged anyone feeling sick not to delay treatment over fears of contracting the virus and assured that anyone with the virus is quarantined away from the general hospital population.