Lost revenue significant problem for rural hospitals

Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 2:38 PM EDT
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Two rural Maine hospitals, already struggling financially, are facing more costs and less income during the pandemic.

U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon hosted a virtual roundtable today with representatives from Calais Regional Hospital and Down East Community Hospital.

Both hospitals report around a 50% reduction in patients since elective procedures have been postponed during the pandemic.

Calais Regional Hospital has filed a lawsuit against the SBA for excluding them from Paycheck Protection Program loans based on their Chapter 11 bankruptcy status.

​Both hospitals cited higher costs and shrinking federal support as problems.

Rod Boula, CEO of Calais Regional Hospital, says things are not looking bright.

“We’re actually sitting on a razor blade, and it’s taken this pandemic to really show how serious it is, not only in Maine, but across the country.”

Steve Lail, CEO of Down East Community Hospital added,

"I think all those factors involved were already stressful and putting stresses on rural healthcare before COVID-19 happened, and that was really the tipping point that pushed some of the smaller hospitals that were already in difficult circumstances over the edge.”

Both hospitals highlighted the important role rural hospitals play as an employer, healthcare provider, and economic driver.

​Calais Regional Hospital and Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln both indicated earlier this week they could close by the end of June without help from the federal loan program..