SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — St. Joseph’s Health CEO, Leslie Paul Luke, tells NewsChannel 9 that he’s going to take a 25 percent pay cut to offset major losses his hospital took when surgeries were called off.
When asked about his budget, Luke says, “It’s going to be a challenge for us to break even, even with elective surgeries. It does help. Surgeries has more of a margin than other procedures.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave local hospitals the go-ahead to resume some elective procedures starting on April 28, but each hospital is evaluating how soon after they’ll be ready to go.
St. Joseph’s Health will begin to bring back its nearly 500 furloughed workers who weren’t needed without the surgeries. Crouse Health will do the same with its nearly 200 workers in a similar position, many of who weren’t needed after Crouse closed two of its satellite surgical centers.
Crouse’s Chief Operating and Medical Officer, Dr. Seth Kronenberg says, “While they fit into that elective category, these are surgeries patients need to treat underlying conditions — and are not truly elective.”
Cuomo ordered hospitals to be mostly emptied to prepare for a surge of coronavirus patients.
At their peaks, St. Joseph’s Hospital had 22 COVID-19 patients and Crouse had 20.
Administrators at both hospitals say those totals were not even close to total hospital capacity and both totals are about half as of Wednesday.
Leslie Paul Luke says, “One of the concerns from the public is coming to the hospital because of COVID. The hospital is one of the safest places you can be.”
Before being admitted for these procedures, patients will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 test and get negative results. At both hospitals, COVID-19 is treated in a special isolation unit with its own air supply.
Once each hospital sets dates for surgeries to resume, the surgeons and doctors will work to reschedule appointments. Some people will need to re-qualify for their surgeries.
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For more local news, follow Andrew Donovan on Twitter @AndrewDonovan.