Tennessee Rural Hospitals Suffering Because of Ban on Elective Procedures


Tennessee’s rural hospitals are reportedly suffering, not because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but because of the state’s current ban on elective procedures.

This, according to Nashville Public Radio, which said Tennessee’s rural hospitals, including Henry County Medical Center in Paris, don’t have enough money to pay the bills as a result. No one at the Henry County Medical Center returned The Tennessee Star’s request for comment Tuesday.

Hospitals, the station went on to say, “make much of their profit margin on procedures now deemed non-essential.”

Henry County would do about 30 a day, but the current surgery schedule is between four to cases per day, and that includes no more joint replacements or bariatric surgeries. The facility has furloughed more than a quarter of its staff, including nurses, Nashville Pubic Radio reported.

“Even with more than 100 hospitalizations statewide, most hospitals in Tennessee are not treating patients with coronavirus at this point, even though they all expect it’s just a matter of time,” the station reported.

Sayeh Nikpay, a health care economist from Vanderbilt’s Department of Health Policy, told Nashville Public Radio, said hospitals are paying for more supplies right now, including masks.

“At the exact same time that their revenue is getting cut, their costs are going to go up,” Nikpay told the station.

No one at Vanderbilt’s Department of Health Policy returned The Star’s request for comment Tuesday.

The Tennessee Hospital Association told the station that the massive federal rescue package money is going to “the largest centers treating the most patients.”

No one at the Tennessee Hospital Association returned The Star’s request for comment Tuesday.

As reported last week, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 18  “An Order to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 by Limiting Non-Emergency Healthcare Procedures,” ordered on March 23, in part the following: surgical outpatient facilities in the state shall not perform any medical procedure that is not necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve the health and safety of a patient.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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One Thought to “Tennessee Rural Hospitals Suffering Because of Ban on Elective Procedures”

  1. 83ragtop50

    This is the type of problems when the government decides winners and losers from their high thrones. Better to let the decisions be made at the local level.