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In a feature story under the headline “Ivy Creek CEO finds niche for rural hospitals amid coronavirus,” The Outlook has highlighted action taken by Ivy Creek Healthcare CEO Mike Bruce to address declining revenues in his rural Alabama healthcare system and at the same time to provide needed treatment to COVID-19 patients at local nursing homes.

The coronavirus crisis has caused Ivy Creek and other healthcare providers to experience a dramatic decline in revenues due to the cessation of elective procedures.  As stated by Mr. Bruce:

The only profit centers we have in rural hospitals anymore is elective procedures. Frankly, that was part of the need to lay people off.   You can’t  have 10 nurses sitting here that were specialized in elective surgery and not having any business. A month ago with the impact, patients needed to stay home, and rightfully so. It directly impacted us with revenue.  I implemented a 20% cut across the board for our staff which  has  been  extremely  painful.  Employees  went  to  32-hour work weeks.

At the same time, Mr. Bruce saw that there was a need to treat nursing home patients with COVID-19 and stop the spread of the disease at those nursing homes.  Therefore, he developed a plan to transfer those patients to the empty beds at Ivy Creek’s hospitals, where the available space allowed isolation of the patients and, if necessary, treatment in the ICU.  As Mr. Bruce said:  “It was helpful from both sides.  We were treating patients that were sick and nursing homes were trying to avoid spreading to the rest of the population they had.”  And, with the influx of patients, Ivy Creek was able to re-call recently laid off staff.

Ivy Creek Healthcare operates 13 hospitals and clinics in south-eastern Alabama.

The Outlook’s article is linked here.