Pandemic Forces Difficult Decisions for Montrose Memorial Hospital

MONTROSE, CO – Montrose Memorial Hospital has realized a substantial financial setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  With the cancellation of elective procedures and surgeries throughout the organization and the temporary closure or dramatic reduction of specific services, we are estimating a $4-5 million loss for the month of April.  Leadership along with many employees have taken pay cuts, we have made some significant changes and reductions to employee benefits and budgets are being reviewed and severely cut.  As a result of this pandemic, our team and the Board of Directors are working together to make difficult decisions to restructure to help ensure the long-term sustainability of the hospital so we can continue to be the healthcare safety net for Montrose and our surrounding communities.

As surgical services and outpatient visits decreased, we formed a resource pool for our employees and re-allocated staff to areas in greatest need.  We opened the COVID specific care unit, added screeners at all patient, visitor and employee entrances, and increased housekeeping sterilization efforts in all areas of the hospital.  Our top priority has always been the safety and care of our Friends and Family.

MMH is the second largest employer in Montrose County with over 700 employees.  The difficult plan to initiate a reduction in force of nineteen employees was implemented today.  The employees affected by the layoff were given information about assistance through the Colorado Workforce Center, counseling and other support services provided by the hospitals Employee Assistance Program and severance pay based on their years of service.  “These decisions are very difficult and not made without angst and sadness, said MMH CEO James Kiser.”  “We are doing all we can to recover from the financial losses due to COVID-19 and to ensure that MMH will be here to care for our communities in the future.”

Surgeries and elective procedures are the primary source of revenue for hospitals.  By following the American College of Surgeons guidelines during this pandemic, and closing down these services, the hospital sustained a major hit to our bottom line.  Board Chair, Dr. Kjersten Davis added, “The hospital is working hard to secure funding from several sources, including a line of credit. We received $7.4 million from the CARE funds which covers only 23 days of hospital operations.  In addition, we received $15.6 million from CMS through the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.  These funds will have to be repaid beginning 121 days after receipt of the funds.  The Board members are also agonizing over the decisions that have to be made and know it is our responsibility to do all we can to keep MMH viable and here for the future.”