A doctor in Alabama is concerned that an increase in COVID cases would force hospitals to close before the next wave.
The president of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Don Williamson, is encouraging state lawmakers to prioritize hospital financing. Without it, he adds, the pandemic’s financial hardship may drive some of them to close.
Alabama lawmakers will convene in a special session next week to discuss the construction of new prisons, which would cost $400 million out of the state’s $2.2 billion in federal COVID funding. Williamson is pressing for at least $200 million of the money to go to hospitals in the state, citing a large revenue loss due to higher staffing demands and a moratorium on elective treatments.
During an interview with the Alabama Political Reporter published Monday, Williamson claimed that nearly 80% of the state’s hospitals were losing money. The former Alabama state health officer is concerned that certain hospitals may be unable to recover and would be forced to close due to the loss of “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
“What I’m concerned about is that once we get through this spike, hospitals will have spent all of their reserves to get through it, and we’ll lose hospitals from the system before we get to the next spike,” he told the Alabama Political Reporter. “We urgently require funds to confront the current crisis.”
Alabama has one of the lowest immunization rates in the country, and the state has seen a significant increase in instances. Despite a declining trend in hospitalizations in the state, the current wave of infections is putting a strain on hospital resources, and available ICU beds are still falling short of patient demands.
On Friday, Alabama’s state health officer, Dr. Scott Harris, stated, “We still have more people requiring critical care than critical beds.” “It’s better than it was, but it still means we don’t have any ICU beds available in Alabama. It’s a difficulty for folks who don’t have COVID.”
Hospitals have fewer resources for non-COVID patients as a result of the 19 patients, and one hospital recently had to phone 43 hospitals across three states to get a bed for a guy suffering from a cardiac episode. Many hospitals have put a hold on elective surgeries to free up resources, a measure that may help with the physical strain on systems but also adds to it. This is a condensed version of the information.