Lawmakers encourage states to allow hospitals to resume elective procedures


WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – Congress included $75 billion in its last coronavirus aid package to help struggling hospitals. 

Now as the curve flattens in some areas, lawmakers in Washington say it’s time for states nationwide to resume surgeries and bring health professionals back to work. 

Most hospitals in California and across the nation now seem to be holding their own.

“We’re starting to see hospital admissions and ICU admissions go down,” Representative Ami Bera, D-California, said.

But Congressman Ami Bera says now as they continue to fight the coronavirus, hospitals are also fighting to stay in business. 

“Our hospitals furloughed thirteen hundred people. So we need to get them back to work,” Representative Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, said. 

Congressman and physician Phil Roe says thankfully his Tennessee district saw relatively few COVID patients.

He says as most hospitals in the region cleared space and cancelled elective surgeries, they lost their main revenue source.

“Just my own practice, the revenues are 50 percent of what they were last year,” Roe said. 

Health care workers in California are also facing furloughs.

Bera says he supports the governor’s decision to allow for some elective surgeries to get health care workers back on the job. 

But Bera says in order for hospitals to remain safe as they open back up, the public has an important role to play.

“We have to continue social distancing, let’s get out of this together,” Bera said. 

“If you look at the hospitals with PPEs and the ability to disinfect, it’s probably one of the safest places,” Representative Raul Ruiz, D-California, said. 

Congressman Raul Ruiz says hospital networks should gradually return to elective surgery but only in regions where the curve has flattened. 

“If you’re still on the upswing on the transmission rate curve, it might not be a good time,” Ruiz said. 

Ruiz says hospitals may need even more aid in the next phase of coronavirus relief from Congress.

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