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OVERHYPED? Dozens of Hospitals Across the US Lay Off Workers Due to Lack of Capacity

What’s going on here?

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Hospitals around the country are laying off workers due to lack of capacity even though many experts predict that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is still to come.

Becker’s Hospital Review compiled a list of 94 hospitals that have instituted layoffs thus far across the U.S. amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The industry claims this is happening because demand for elective surgeries is down and that has dried up hospital revenue substantially.

“Many U.S. hospitals and health systems have suspended elective procedures to save capacity, supplies and staff to treat COVID-19 patients,” they wrote in their review. “As a result of suspending these nonemergent procedures, several systems have lost or expect to lose a large chunk of their annual revenue, forcing them to make cost reduction a top priority.”

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Some recent examples include the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) announcing that they are laying off over 60 couriers, lab assistants, and patient support staff workers. The DMC said that 27 employees would be laid off from the Children’s Hospital with the other 38 workers losing their jobs from the rest of their Detroit campus.

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“Business has slowed a lot because a lot of doctor’s offices aren’t open, which is kind of strange because we’re in a pandemic,” a courier told Bridge Michigan.

Kalispell hospital announced a series of layoffs and pay cuts that will affect approximately 600 workers in Helena, Mont. They also claim the layoffs are only temporary and will be eager to bring back members of the workforce displaced by the pandemic.

“I am confident that we will ramp back up quickly once it is safe to do so,” Lambrecht said. “It is my hope that everyone can weather this uncertain time and emerge safe and well.”

The North Carolina Nurses Association found out through their survey of 400 nurses across the state that staff hours have been cut, widespread “temporary” layoffs have been instituted, and staffers have been told to take their paid time off to make up for the losses.

“It’s definitely not the situation you might think would happen during a pandemic,” said North Carolina Nurses Association CEO Tina Gordon.

East Texas hospitals are furloughing workers and reducing the hours for employees as well. UT Health East Texas and CHRISTUS Health say that the coronavirus panic is causing far fewer non-coronavirus patients and killing their business.

“I think every system across the country is having to look at what they have to do to continue to provide care and services in this rather challenging environment,” said Dr. Tom Cummins, Chief Medical Officer of UT Health East Texas, during a Thursday news conference.

With the coronavirus pandemic not living up to the media hype quiet yet, the health care industry has been rocked like every other sector. The damage to the U.S. economy is rapidly compounding as the lock down continues.

Big League Wellness

Alameda County, California Will PAY Those Who Test Positive for Coronavirus $1,250

Bad Idea Hall of Fame?

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A northern California county has approved a trial plan to pay anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus disease $1,250, with the idea that paying them to stay home is the only way to deter them from spreading the disease.

Alameda county supervisors are arguing that it’s the only way to prevent people from spreading the disease. “Many of them just could not afford to lose two weeks’ worth of wages to quarantine and isolate,” said policy director Vanessa Cedeño.

It’s unclear how Alameda County plans to deal with the prospect of individuals intentionally contracting coronavirus with the promise of filing for unemployment and receiving the county’s generous stipend for a positive diagnosis. The trial plan does require documentation of a positive test to receive the payment.

The plan may be geared towards illegal immigrants, as county supervisors are maintaining immigration status may not be taken into account. Recipients of the payment also can’t be receiving unemployment benefits, but it’s unclear how the county government plans to verify this.

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The plan could unwitting set off a firestorm of coronavirus within the county, incentivizing hundreds or thousands of young and healthy people to intentionally procure the disease, acquire antibodies to it, and secure a Alameda County check in doing so.

There’s a strong case to be made for renewed unemployment payments, another round of TrumpBux-style payments(possibly recurring), or even more social safety measures in the duration of the coronavirus epidemic, but paying individuals on the mere basis of a coronavirus diagnosis could be a strong contender for induction into the Bad Ideas Hall of Fame.

 

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