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Samaritan Healthcare logs loss for month of April

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | May 28, 2020 12:14 AM

MOSES LAKE — The COVID-19 outbreak and measures taken to fight it resulted in a net loss in April for Samaritan Healthcare.

Chief administrative officer Alex Town said Samaritan lost a little less than $1.6 million in April. That followed a $765,705 loss in March.

For 2020 through the end of April, Samaritan has lost about $1.2 million. Town reviewed the finances for commissioners at the board meeting Tuesday.

Among the measures taken to combat the virus, hospitals statewide were prohibited from performing what state officials designated as non-essential procedures. Hospitals also were required to cut back on services deemed non-essential and to be ready to treat substantial numbers of coronavirus patients.

The shutdowns for Samaritan resulted in 33 percent lower outpatient revenue when compared to the 2020 budget projection for April, Town said. Inpatients spend one or more nights in the hospital.

Outpatient revenue was 49 percent below budget projections for April, Town said. Outpatients are treated and released in the same day.

Revenue for the two Samaritan clinics, on Pioneer Way and near Patton Boulevard, also dropped in April. Clinic revenue was 43 percent below the 2020 budget projections.

The restrictions on hospitals were lifted May 18. As a result, Town said business is starting to pick up.

Samaritan Healthcare officials hope to know by July 31 whether their application for U.S. Department of Agriculture funding for a new Samaritan hospital is successful.

Chief Executive Officer Theresa Sullivan said Tuesday that the loan application is going through USDA’s final review. If the application is approved, the hospital would be charged 2.6 percent interest.

Hospital officials announced earlier this month that construction will be delayed until 2021. Sullivan said most of the work on the project was halted while hospital officials dealt with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some of the required paperwork has been completed, Sullivan said, including some environmental impact studies and a cultural resources survey. The traffic study has been completed, and applications have been submitted for land use and conditional-use permits.

If the USDA loan application is approved, hospital officials will review the district’s finances, and analyze the effect of efforts to fight the coronavirus on the district’s economy. That will help determine a schedule to resume the project, Sullivan said.

Hospital commissioners in April 2019 approved construction of a new 50-bed hospital. Officials were getting ready to advertise for bids when the coronavirus outbreak occurred.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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