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UAB Hospital projected to lose $70 million monthly under Alabama COVID-19 restrictions

While UAB Hospital has cared for the most coronavirus (COVID-19) patients out of all in-patient facilities in the state, monetary losses to the hospital are expected to be huge due to elective procedures and many other clinical activities not occurring as usual.

In a video statement, UAB Medicine CEO Will Ferniany explained that UAB Hospital is projected to lose about $70 million per month under current restrictions.

“By the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30, we will have lost about $230 million,” Ferniany advised.

He outlined that UAB has received approximately $30 million in federal stimulus money so far, bringing that net loss by the end of the fiscal year to around $200 million.

To address this “significant” loss, Ferniany added that UAB Hospital is attempting to reopen for normal business “as quickly and safely as possible.”

UAB Medicine will continue to maximize any and all available federal assistance, the CEO noted. Expenses have also been readjusted in areas not affecting patient safety, such as many planned capital projects being postponed, hiring being frozen and travel being halted.

Ferniany detailed that UAB Hospital normally operates at approximately 92% occupancy. However, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital is now only running at about 60% occupancy.

Further, UAB Hospital is accustomed to performing around 155 surgeries per day. Now, the facility is only doing about 57 surgeries daily.

“We used to have around 5,800 visits per day to our clinics. Now we have about 3,000, of which most of these are telemedicine visits,” Ferniany stated.

He explained that over the first month of operating during the pandemic, UAB Hospital had approximately 3,000 elective surgery visits cancelled, as well as almost 11,000 less patient days and about 85,000 fewer clinical visits.

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Ferniany also emphasized that UAB Medicine continues to be committed to serving as a health leader in the state’s response to the pandemic regardless of the cost.

To this point, UAB has cared for roughly 25% of Alabama’s COVID-19-positive in-patient population, according to UAB. “This is by far more than any other hospital in the state,” UAB said in an email to members of the media.

“As Alabama’s only Level-I Trauma center recognized by the American Academy of Surgeons, UAB has a large number of critical care physicians and nurses, as well as advanced knowledge and technologies to care for complex COVID-19 cases and support higher recovery rates. In addition to world-class patient care, UAB has provided vital leadership in Alabama’s response to COVID-19 by: collaborating with public health officials; serving on state task forces; leading the state’s COVID-19 research efforts; helping other hospitals with treatment guidelines; consulting with leaders, hospitals and businesses regarding safely opening; promoting public awareness efforts through information campaigns; increasing the state’s testing capacity; and helping the state obtain needed PPE and equipment, among many other activities,” the email summarized.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn