Colorado hospital CEO: 'I think we made people afraid to come back'

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As hospitals try to rebound from the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans need to be reminded that these facilities are still safe places to get healthcare when they need it, a Colorado hospital told KMGH-TV.

Maureen Tarrant serves as CEO of Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, both in Denver. 

Like other U.S. hospitals, Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients.

But Ms. Tarrant told KMGH her hospital was "never overwhelmed with COVID patients," and it did not see the surge of patients that hospitals in more dense areas of the country did.

However, there was another effect. 

"I think we had an unintended consequence: I think we made people afraid to come back to the hospital," she said.

The hospital saw revenue drop due to decreased emergency department patient volume, said Ms. Tarrant. And she told KMGH she is worried there will be "collateral damage" from COVID-19 and that healthcare workers could be negatively affected financially from people avoiding care for other medical problems such as strokes, heart disease, cancer and asthma. 

Ms. Tarrant is not alone. Out of similar concerns, hospitals in California and Washington state have launched campaigns to encourage people not to delay healthcare when they need it during the pandemic.

 

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