Hospital announces cutbacks

  • COVID-19, courtesy Centers for Disease Control
    COVID-19, courtesy Centers for Disease Control

Citing a loss in revenue attributed to canceling elective surgeries and procedures related to COVID-19, Montrose Memorial Hospital announced it has laid off 19 employees after enduring as much as a $5 million loss in April.

In a statement posted to the hospital's website this afternoon, the hospital announced leadership and other employees would take payouts, and there would be "significant changes and reductions to employee benefits." The hospital has more than 700 employees, some of whom live in Ouray County.

“These decisions are very difficult and not made without angst and sadness," said hospital CEO James Kiser in a press release. “We are doing all we can to recover from the financial losses due to COVID-19 and to ensure that MMH will be here to care for our communities in the future.”

The hospital cited losses due to foregoing surgeries and elective procedures, which are a primary source of revenue for hospitals now. Healthcare professionals were faced with canceling or postponing these procedures to ensure more safety for those who could be infected by the virus and also to reallocate resources to form specialized COVID-19 care units in the hospital, separate from other care units. They also scrambled to assemble ventilators for these COVID-19 units, anticipating the need for more support for critically ill patients.

"By following the American College of Surgeons guidelines during this pandemic, and closing down these services, the hospital sustained a major hit to our bottom line," the hospital's release said.

Dr. Kjersten Davis, the hospital board's chairwoman, said the hospital is attempting to secure other funding, including a line of credit in addition to $7.4 million from CARE Act funds it already received. But that amount only covers 23 days of hospital operations.