Administrators at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics gave the Board of Regents a report Thursday on the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
CEO Suresh Gunasekaran told the regents federal relief money has helped, and they had a strong position going into the pandemic, but it still leaves them looking at a negative balance. “And the 83-million-dollar negative margin impact in these months we project will put our year-to-date margin at negative two million dollars for the year,” Gunasekaran says.
A lot of the negative balance came after elective and scheduled surgeries were stopped. He says things are starting to improve, but it is unclear if they will get back to what they were before the COVID-19 outbreak. “UIHC is vulnerable to lose at a clip of between 10 and 20 million dollars a month is things don’t change,” he says. ” One of the questions we always get is ‘why can’t we just focus on breaking even?’ Breaking even would be positive compared to where we have been during this pandemic — but
it is always important to understand that we use the first bit of margin to invest in necessary capital.”Gunasekaran says that it includes replacing equipment and necessary maintenance of buildings.
He says the lingering impact of the pandemic could go on for months. “There’s a likelihood of a slower return to patients wanting to be seen in the clinic. The economic circumstances of patients may’ve changed during this pandemic and after this pandemic — which may affect their demand,” he says. Gunasekaran says they’ve come up with a plan that will change the way they have done business. This would include improving efficiency, extending hours at clinics, longer operating room hours, and more off-campus services.