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An unintended consequence of the stay at home order

Thursday, Mar 26, 2020

* Rebecca Anzel at Capitol News Illinois

The novel coronavirus could “create long-lasting, devastating damage” to Illinois health care facilities that serve vulnerable communities.

Community health centers are treating fewer patients than normal after all 390 locations around the state canceled routine and preventative medical visits to slow the spread of COVID-19 per guidance from federal and state officials.

That means fewer government reimbursements for facilities that use them to pay staff salaries and purchase supplies. According to a report from Capital Link, community health centers in Illinois are projected to lose almost $140 million in revenue over the next three months, or 70 percent of the business typically generated.

This segment of the state’s health care safety net is already underfunded by about $150 million annually, Jordan Powell, president of Illinois Primary Health Care Association, said.

* John O’Connor at the AP

The internal financial review completed Wednesday for the Illinois Primary Health Care Association found that, without help, the state’s federally established community health centers face losses of $181 million and 4,350 layoffs during the next three months. […]

Heartland Health Centers, with 18 sites in the Chicago area along with temporarily closed public school clinics, reduced staff hours by 40% this week, president and CEO Gwenn Rausch said. Most of its 210 employees will work just three days a week to save $400,000 of a $1.2 million monthly payroll.

“Instead of seeing 500 patients a day, to minimize the number of well people coming into health centers who didn’t need to be there, and doing telehealth, we’re reduced to only about 100 patients a day,” Rausch said.

* From a press release

* Nearly 30 percent will exhaust all of their operating reserves and be forced to close sites and reduce services

* 37 percent are already on the brink of closure, with less than 30 days of cash on hand

* More than 70 percent will have substantial operating deficits, making it more difficult to provide the critical care needed during this challenging time

- Posted by Rich Miller        

6 Comments »
  1. - 618er - Thursday, Mar 26, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    An no one can come up with an idea, some kind of coordinated effort, to take some of the burden off of some aspects of healthcare during this time, by utilizing facilities that are staffed with medical professionals, that are at risk of shutting their doors because no one is using them during this pandemic?


  2. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Mar 26, 20 @ 2:15 pm:

    Should not all of those health professionals be diverted to our hospitals?


  3. - Paul Powell’s Shoebox - Thursday, Mar 26, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    The biggest unintended consequence of this is how is Madigan conducting his business, since he doesn’t use a cellphone or email, and his phones are likely being listened to, how is he keeping it going in the age of social distancing?


  4. - WorkingFromHome - Thursday, Mar 26, 20 @ 2:55 pm:

    All I’m seeing is more reasons not to have a for profit health system that is reliant on the free market to perform core functions. As soon as the market turns (for any reason) it risks bringing down the whole system.


  5. - NewMom - Thursday, Mar 26, 20 @ 4:06 pm:

    I hate that school-based health centers like the Heartland centers referred to above are suffering right now. SBHCs across our entire state are suffering financially due to the COVID19-related school closings and will continue to suffer unless additional financial support is provided by the state. Some SBHCs also have community entrances, which provide valuable health care services to our neighbors as well as students. We can’t lose this model of care!


  6. - capitol view - Thursday, Mar 26, 20 @ 8:55 pm:

    also gas tax revenues are far down, and sales tax revenues are way down.


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