The COVID Effect: Looking Forward
We are living in unprecedented times fraught with difficult choices. We have weathered some incredible challenges thus far, and I remain extraordinarily proud of how hard Mercyhealth employee/partners are working to keep us safe and instill hope. No doubt this spirit of resilience is going to be critical to our future. What does this mean for health care in general and Mercyhealth specifically?
Prior to COVID-19, Mercyhealth was dealing with major challenges with managed Medicaid issues in our Illinois market that had momentous financial impact. Then, during the “shelter in place/safer at home” orders, revenues in our outpatient areas, clinics and surgery plunged across all markets. These losses are significant with revenue dropping in the tens of millions.
In response, we reassessed our services and made difficult decisions over the past few months that have made headlines. While these changes were in no way easy, we also knew that we needed to make these adjustments in order to adapt to the massive changes to our business. It is a new world and, like so many other businesses and health systems, we must adapt to survive.
Second, right action.
The world remains deeply affected by the ongoing and multiplying effects of COVID-19. We continue to evaluate our position on a daily basis. We are working diligently to forecast our revenue. We are continuing to evaluate our expenses and adjusting for ongoing challenges like maintaining adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). We know our future revenue streams will not match those pre-COVID-19 so we are adjusting in real time, using strong forecasting models to help us make critical decisions.
We are also evaluating the change in healthcare access patterns by Mercyhealth patients over the past several months, evidenced by the increased utilization of our Telemedicine services. We are carefully analyzing the changes we may need to make in our clinics to adapt to these new access patterns. Community and patient needs will lead the way.
Change is not easy and change has been a constant this year. Yet, it is necessary and responsible to remain strong. We are doing everything in our power to stay agile and adjust as needed. Dynamic forecasting and budgeting to our present situation will help us make it through this time. Mercyhealth has thousands of partners who depend on us for their jobs. Our community relies on us for the programs and services we provide to hundreds of thousands of patients.
Third, mission-centric focus.
Our mission of healing remains the same, and arguably at no point in history has this been more critical. Our employee/partners have demonstrated their passion for service, for healing and for caring for one another like never before. The intangibles they bring to delivering care, including their spirit of kindness and wholehearted dedication, are what make us who we are and that is enduring. No one—no pandemic—can take that away.
As we work our way through this unprecedented time together, I would like to thank you for your continued support of Mercyhealth. We promise to continue to provide exceptional care to the communities we serve.
Javon R. Bea