By Katie Teachout
The Journal 

Bostrom: Hospital may lose $400,000 in monthly revenue

Gov. Inslee’s order jeopardizes health of rural facilities


Last updated 4/16/2020 at 1:15pm

RITZVILLE — Hospitals statewide are taking a financial hit with Gov. Jay Inslee's order to suspend any non-essential services, and East Adams Rural Healthcare is doing their best to weather the storm.

“We are still providing our swing bed, inpatient and emergency services, but our rehabilitation therapy and outpatient clinic services are very minimal right now, because folks should be staying at home unless they need care to prevent them from really having a detrimental effect to their health,” Chief Executive Officer Corey Fedie said last week. “The outpatient services are drastically minimized, and that's a lot of what we do. According to the governor's proclamation, if it's not absolutely critical for the patient's wellness, we're not allowed to do them.”

During an April 8 hospital board meeting, outgoing CFO Gary Bostrom estimated the hospital was losing $400,000 per month in revenue due to the stay-home quarantine.

“It's going to be a pretty severe hit by the way it looks,” Bostrom said.

Bostrom will be retiring soon and was not available for further comment.

The local facility isn’t the only rural hospital struggling to stay financially solvent due to the coronavirus orders.

As of April 8, there hadn't been any local hospital layoffs, yet, he said.

“We've got additional work during the pandemic in cleaning, managing supplies or working with countless other entities,” Fedie said. “We saw this as a good time to take advantage of that, so we haven't had to cut hours or lay anybody off.

“Our goal is to do the best we can, keep moving on and keep everyone employed, unless this thing drags out.”

In neighboring Whitman County, Whitman Hospital and Medical Center spokeswoman Laurie Gronning, estimated about 10% of hospital workers are seeing a reduction in hours at the Colfax-based hospital.

Like Fedie, she said the hospital was "monitoring things day by day."

On the other side of Colfax, Pullman Regional Hospital recently announced it was reducing pay by 25% for all hourly and salary workers for the next 60 days to free up $1 million in cash to weather financial challenges coronavirus restrictions bring.

Fedie put a spin on East Adams Rural Healthcare's limited offerings, including surgeries.

“It's unfortunate that we don't offer more of those things here, but in this particular scenario, it's actually been to our benefit,” he said, estimating hospitals and clinics that offer elective surgeries are looking at a 40%-80% drop in business.

“We're just not in those shoes, so we haven't had as big a margin as some of these folks are experiencing,” Fedie said.

Fedie also pointed out the hospital's drive to offer tele-health services.

“We are looking into some therapy options but have not implemented them yet,” Fedie said. “Our goal is to still care for the community to the best of our ability, even though the governor has ordered everybody to stay home.”

Still, every medical center needs to make ends meet to stay afloat.

“We've got to find a good way to balance it, and we think we're doing a pretty good job with it right now,” Fedie said.

The hospital board next meets via telephone conference April 22.

Author Bio

Katie Teachout, Former Journal Editor

Katie Teachout is the former editor of The Ritzville Adams County Journal. Previously, she worked as a reporter at The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle, the Oroville Gazette-Tribune, Northern Kittitas County Tribune and the Methow Valley News. She is a graduate of Western Washington University.


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