'We are begging for more assistance': New York health system CEO seeks funding to avoid layoffs

Ayla Ellison (Twitter) - Print  | 

Steep revenue losses have triggered furloughs at UR Medicine Thompson Health, a nonprofit health system based in Canandaigua, N.Y., and the health system needs more financial assistance to avoid layoffs, according to a report by the American Hospital Association. 

In late March, New York had 15 times more COVID-19 cases than any other U.S. state, and UR Medicine Thompson Health, like other health systems in the state, shut down elective procedures. 

"There were no more surgeries, no more diagnostic procedures. And that was a huge impact to us because 80 percent of all our revenue comes from outpatients; only 20 percent is driven by the inpatients," health system President and CEO Michael Stapleton Jr., told the AHA. "When the outpatient visits were canceled, the ramifications were astronomical. However, we continued our COVID-19 response. We did everything we were supposed to do."

Though the health system received $3.1 million under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to help offset lost revenues and higher expenses tied to the pandemic, Mr. Stapleton says more assistance is needed. The health system is projected to lose $17 million through the end of this year. 

Mr. Stapleton is calling on Congress to provide additional funding for hospitals and health systems in the next COVID-19 relief package. He said the health system, which has already implemented staff furloughs to cut costs, may have to lay off 200 workers if additional relief funds aren't available. 

"We are begging for more assistance and more help because we can't keep moving forward," he told the AHA. 

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