COVID-19 causing financial health crisis for rural Missouri hospitals

Already struggling hospitals now face bills for coronavirus measures while losing income from routine care.

Megan Lynch
April 22, 2020 - 9:23 am

MEMPHIS, Mo (KMOX) - Struggling rural hospitals are now in worse financial health due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, Mo. has seen a dramatic drop in revenue while at the same time making investments to be prepared for COVID patients. 

Related: Gyms, golf courses, movie theaters will reopen in Franklin County, Mo this week
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"We were really gearing up for an onslaught, perhaps to either take care of our community's COVID problems or as an escape valve if the metropolitan hospitals became overloaded," explains CEO and OB-GYN Dr. Randy Tobler. 

Tobler says patients started canceling appointments and procedures even before it was recommended, cutting income in some of the hospital's departments as much as 80%. 

Tobler says doctors across the country are also concerned that they've seen a decline in visits for serious conditions such as heart attacks.   He tells KMOX the hospital instituted furloughs and rate cuts last month and may have to cut hours or pay rates again to stay afloat.

Dr. Tobler is a host on KMOX's sister station 97.1 FM Talk.

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