Coronavirus cases remain at 4
By Kayla Anderson/Battle Born Media
Healthcare systems across the nation are experiencing huge revenue losses due to COVID-19 since people are more afraid to go to the hospital when battling another disease or ailment. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services freed up some funding to help small healthcare providers stay open during the pandemic.
Twenty-one rural healthcare providers in Nevada received $51 million to help buffer the revenues lost from low patient intake yet healthcare employees working longer hours and paying for PPE supplies and equipment.
Mt. Grant General Hospital received a bit of that money from the $51 million grant this past April in the amount of $364,000 and is hoping to get another stimulus package in coming weeks.
“I just got off a conference call with our auditors, accountants, and Chief Financial Officer talking about how to responsibly take care of this money. We’re grateful for it and want to make sure that we’re clear about what it means and stay in compliance for what we spend it on,” says MGGH Hospital Administrator Hugh Qualls.
MGGH has experienced the same crunch that other hospitals have had in the sense that the pandemic has led to more out-of-pocket costs on gear used to keep everyone safe while in the hospital along with people working longer hours to field calls, manage tests, and help battle COVID-19.
“We average about 250 visits to the emergency room a month and last month we had 112 visits. I’m sure it’s because people are afraid to go to the hospital. For clinic visits we are also seeing less than half of what they normally are. We used to average 100 in-person visits a day but now if we see 40 patients (at the clinic) then that’s a good day,” Qualls says. MGGH doctors have replaced a lot of their physical visits with Telehealth calls and acquiring PPE supplies and maintaining staffing levels have gone up.
“Safety and patient care are our top priority, and a lot of folks are working overtime for that,” Qualls says.
The new funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will help MGGH get their revenues back to normal again by using the funds towards the extra expenses incurred during the pandemic, retaining staff, and provide hardship bonuses for those who’ve put in long hours without getting a day off.
As of May 5, there have been four positive COVID-19 cases in Mineral County, two of which tested positive from Mt. Grant and they have all since survived and retested negative. To date, MGGH has administered well over 400 tests and the hospital’s testing capabilities seem to be getting easier. Qualls adds that Mineral County Public Health Officer Wanda Nixon has done a great job of contact tracing on the four Mineral County cases to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Qualls believes that all the subsequent positive COVID-19 cases stemmed from “patient zero” and Nixon’s quick reacting has helped keep Mineral County’s coronavirus numbers down. There is the chance that if businesses open back up and people start travelling again that there could be another spike in cases but hopefully when that happens the hospital will be better prepared.
“I think we responded well this time, but we’ll be better prepared for something like this the next time,” Qualls says.
Qualls is also overwhelmed with the generosity from the Mineral County community.
“The community has been amazing at providing masks and being supportive,” he says, referring to the thousand or so masks received since the end of March. “That’s impressive for a town of this size. And everyone has been so compliant in wearing masks and practicing safety measures, I’m just speechless about how this community has come together,” Qualls adds.
For updated numbers on COVID-19 testing and cases at Mt. Grant, visit their Facebook page.