An Illinois lawmaker is now raising a red flag about the financial stability of small, rural hospitals in the state. The Center Square reports that Republican State Representative Tom Demmer of Dixon is calling for help for the small hospitals around the state because of the financial strain COVID-19 has placed on the institutions. Demmer also works as Director of Innovation & Strategy at KSB Hospital, a not-for-profit community hospital with locations in Lee and Ogle Counties in northern Illinois.
CEO and President of Passavant Hospital Dr. Scott Boston told WLDS in April that Passavant has had to ask some employees to take time off and has shut down services at the hospital due to losses in revenue and lack of patients coming to the hospital. Elective surgery bans have recently been lifted with the new executive order, but Demmer believes that turning around the financial health of hospitals only deals with part of the fallout.
Demmer told The Center Square that by delaying some of the elective surgeries, hospitals may have to deal with the fallout of not doing diagnostic tests and screenings for major health issues. Demmer says his concern is that more serious incidents of preventable health situations may happen because of the delay in care.
According to the Center Square article, at least nine small hospitals already have closed across the country in 2020. Demmer said the recent financial pressures on rural health care delivery networks only make problems worse that were introduced by the Affordable Care Act. According to a recent report by the Chartis Center for Rural Health, almost half of small, rural hospitals in America already were operating at a loss before the COVID-19 crisis began.