Hospitals top priority for governor's task force to reopen Florida

Getting hospitals back in business was a top topic of discussion on a conference call Thursday with Governor Ron DeSantis’ task force to reopen the state.

On the task force is John Couris, the CEO of Tampa General Hospital. He says nationwide, health systems are seeing revenue losses to the tune of 30 to 50 percent due to closures from COVID-19.

He explained that the safety net Hospital Alliance did a survey of 31 hospitals and discovered that in the last four weeks, there’s been an estimated $500- $600 million impact to their institutions – something that’s being driven by loss of revenue and the cost of preparing for and treating COVID-19 patients.

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Couris is serious about resuming elective surgeries and procedures. A few of the recommendations he has include testing high-risk procedure patients well before their procedure.

“You should test those patients no greater than 48 hours before the surgery. After testing that patient, they should self-quarantine until that surgery. A second safeguard would be the establishment of new screening questions on the morning of surgery, to help identify potential COVID patients,” he said.

Those include questions like: Do you feel you have a fever or shortness of breath? And if the process establishes positive screening systems on a patient, then a rapid test should be given.

Couris says the industry is working very hard at not having to furlough or lay off people in hospitals but the current situation is not sustainable, he says, “for obvious reasons.”

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

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