CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The CEO at Charleston Area Medical Center says the systems hospitals are coming back, but they’re not there yet.
CAMC President and CEO Dave Ramsey, speaking on MetroNews “Talkline” Tuesday, indicated the hospital’s surgery center is back open, outpatient procedures have resumed, and patients are starting to return to the hospital. Clinics are also reopened and doctors are having office visits and ordering tests again. However, the pace is slow and it may take a while to reach full capacity.
“I would say we’re a little ahead of schedule, but still slow because a lot of folks are still concerned about coming to the hospital,” he said.
Ramsey admitted part of the problem may be the hospital’s own policy. Visitors are still forbidden from coming to see patients who are hospitalized. The restriction is set to be lifted, at least partially, June 15th, but it will allow only one visitor per person to an outpatient procedure. The change remained a cause for concern for Ramsey.
“We continue to see the number of people out and about without masks own. To think at any given day we have 650 patients in the hospital. If we were to allow one visitor per patient, we could have 650 people in the hospital and we don’t know where they were the day before,” he said.
The new policy will restrict where visitors can be with the patient in the facility.
Soon after the pandemic began, CAMC was forced to cut hours for a large number of its employees. They haven’t all returned to full time employment, but the hospital has made progress there as well. About 415 employees, mostly in the clinical areas, have returned to work.
Cash flow remained a difficult circumstance as well. Ramsey said CAMC lost more than $20 Million during the month of April and the although final figures for May aren’t yet known he expected a substantial loss there as well. . The hospital received $21 Million from the federal government as part of the CARES Act, but Ramsey said it wouldn’t completely make up for the hit taken system-wide during the pandemic.
“We just began to open up toward the middle part of May. Hopefully June will continue to improve,” he said.