Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has received an additional $4.5 million from the federal CARES Act to help offset the financial losses from the COVID-19 outbreak.

John Hackbarth, OH system executive vice president and CFO, said the virus’ negative impact on the Owensboro Health System has exceeded $20 million in direct expenses and an additional $43.4 million in lost net revenue through July 31, 2020.

Hackbarth listed numerous unanticipated expenses such as additional protection supplies, testing costs, equipment for ventilators, screening sites, staging sites for admission to emergency rooms and hospital services, additional personnel for screenings, equipment for negative pressure rooms, contracted services for transport, additional vehicles, additional beds, temporary beds, additional computer equipment for remote services, telehealth resources and equipment and personnel to facilitate online provider and patient conversations.

“We also maintained our employees at full employment even though the volumes were down, and redeployed many personnel to other businesses in town to screen their employees at no cost to them in order to keep as many of our employees in this community healthy,” Hackbarth said. “This additional funding assisted Owensboro Health to partially offset the cost and decreased revenue attributed to COVID-19.”

OH was among eight Kentucky health systems to receive extra funding. The remaining seven included $30.6 million for U of L Health — U of L Hospital; $15.65 million for St. Elizabeth Healthcare — Fort Thomas; $14.2 million for the Medical Center at Bowling Green; $11.9 million for Baptist Health — Louisville; $10.2 million for Ephraim McDowell Health; $2.85 million for the Jackson Purchase Medical Center and $2.4 million for Southern Kentucky Rehabilitation Hospital.

The latest federal funding was announced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, as part of an additional $150 million from the CARES Act.

The first financial boost came at the end of May when OH received about $17 million in CARES Act funding.

Overall, Kentucky received about $11 billion in funding from the CARES Act then. Of that, $1 billion went to health care.

For that initial federal allotment, McConnell took time to tour Owensboro Health and discuss the bill that he said added about $3 trillion to the nation’s debt, and that it marked the first time since World War II the national debt has grown as large as the economy.

Hackbarth said the more than $21 million OH has received from the CARES Act will help keep them financially whole.

“All dollars received by Owensboro Health from the CARES funding have helped us partially cover our costs and revenue reduction,” Hackbarth said. “We were blessed to be financially sound before the pandemic and any dollars received have helped us to ensure we remain a strong, financially stable health system for the communities we serve.”

If the pandemic continues into 2021, Hackbarth remained confident that OH is better equipped for any possible new surges.

“Although not certain of the magnitude of the possible resurgence in the fall and early spring of next year, we feel certain we are better prepared than the first time,” Hackbarth said. “The cost of such a resurgence will certainly be felt and will impact the system, but we are confident we are prepared to continue to meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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