Hospitals increasing services again

Yuma County’s hospitals and clinics have seen a severe drop in business since restrictions took hold in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in early March.
Voluntary and elective surgical procedures were recommended not to be done, and people also became less likely to visit the doctor like normal.

Governor Jared Polis’ Safer-at-Home executive order, which began phasing in this week, allowed for the resumption of elective procedures and surgeries.
Yuma District Hospital & Clinics CEO Beth Saxton said the facility is resuming elective procedures and surgeries according to the directives from the Governor’s Office and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
That also means specialty clinic services will be resuming in May, at least on a limited basis. Saxton said the district still was confirming dates with the providers as of earlier this week.
Wray Community Hospital CEO John Hart said his facility also is reopening services “in a positive way.”
Both Yuma County hospitals instituted emergency plans the second week in March.
Hart said the number of clinic patients went down real fast.
“Over one month’s time we saw a 75-percent drop in activity in the hospital,” Hart said. “We’re suffering just like any business is.”
Saxton said it has been about the same at the Yuma hospital, with some areas hit harder than others, such as the specialty clinic and the OR.
It finally was clarified recently by the Small Business Administration that Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics will be eligible for relief provided by the Paycheck Protection Program. There had been inconsistent interpretation of whether or not healthcare providers partially owned or operated by a county or district in which they serve were eligible. The updated guidance ensures that any hospital with less than 50 percent of its revenue from state or local taxpayer sources is eligible.
Both the Yuma and Wray hospitals qualify, and both have applied for the PPP funding.
There also is funding for hospitals through the various reiterations of the CARES Act. Hart said there also is a volunteer in the Wray community that has been writing grant requests for the hospital. One grant has been approved, and the hospital was to learn the final decision on four other grants in the near future.
“Every part of that is greatly appreciated,” Hart said.
He stressed that he and Saxton, along with their staffs, have been working closely together as a combined community health care system.