Update: Rock Regional Hospital Cancels Loan Application | Covid-19
In the wake of the current coronavirus pandemic, Derby’s Rock Regional Hospital is seeking help (including potential loan funding) to continue operations and provide needed services to the community in response to this threat .
COVID-19 has already impacted hospital services. Kevin Hicks, CEO of Cabe Consulting – the hospital’s new management team since April 1 – reported that the current pandemic has led to a 30% drop in emergency room admissions in Rock Regional and increased costs associated with l acquisition of personal protective equipment.
“All of this has got us to the point where funding is needed,” Hicks said.
With this need, Hicks planned to appear before the Sedgwick County Commission and Derby City Council to ask for help in securing a five-year, $ 3 million loan that would provide short-term assistance to the hospital.
At the Sedgwick County commission meeting on Wednesday, Hicks raised the demand, but a number of commissioners voiced concern for a number of reasons, including the possibility of setting a precedent, budget concerns county and the potential time off the county may need to take. itself due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“With all due respect, I cannot and never would oblige property tax money from taxpayers, money from the general fund – what you are asking me to do – to support your hospital.” Said Commissioner David Dennis.
“There is a chance that we will support this and it is not sustainable. It would be a horrible situation for taxpayers, ”said Commissioner Jim Howell.
Sedgwick County Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to deny the Rock Regional Hospital’s request to help secure a $ 3 million loan.
After the county committee meeting, Hicks was due to present the loan application at a special Derby city council meeting on Thursday. However, the county’s action led Hicks to switch gears with city council.
At the Derby City Council meeting, Hicks mainly spoke about the recent transition and new management of the hospital, including potential plans on how to get through the difficult stage ahead.
Being a relatively new hospital (officially opened in April 2019), Hicks noted that Rock Regional was on the verge of breaking even. There were a few initial issues that had led to a slow start for the hospital, creating some financial stress, with the COVID-19 situation adding another wrinkle in operations.
“Things were going well, in all respects, and then the pandemic hit,” Hicks said. “When Sedgwick County implemented the Stay-at-Home Order, things slowed down considerably. It’s stressful for the hospital.
Hicks did not dispute the need for the stay-at-home order, but said it forced some changes that pushed Rock Regional’s planned break-even date back to fall 2020.
Despite these obstacles, Hicks remains confident in the long-term viability of the hospital, noting that “the elements of success for Rock Regional Hospital are evident to me”.
After the county commission’s action on Wednesday, Derby council member Jack Hezlep asked if the hospital had other funding plans or if this required management to improvise.
Going forward, Hicks said the hospital has already received funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (as of Thursday) and the homeowner group is seeking an additional $ 5 million loan. dollars as part of the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 support efforts.
Predicting an optimistic return to normal by June, Hicks said this should help the hospital on its way out.
“Times are tight right now,” Hicks said, “but we have a plan to fund the cash flow needs over the next few months.”