/ Modified may 8, 2020 5:19 p.m.

After furloughs and pay cuts, TMC welcomes return of elective procedures

A discussion with hospital COO Mimi Coomler.

Hospitals in Arizona welcomed the return of elective surgeries this month. Many facilities paused services to make room for a possible influx of COVID-19 patients leading to financial setbacks. That included Tucson Medical Center, which estimates shortfalls totaled $16 million in March and April. Chief Operating Officer Mimi Coomler discussed furloughs and pay cuts the hospital implemented, as well as how it is reintroducing elective procedures.

“In surgery, we have reduced our surgical volume by 60%. Diagnostic mammography we put on hold entirely. And so many of our health care workers, we’ve tried to preserve their benefits and their positions, but we’ve reduced their hours. In some cases, up to 60% and in most cases at 30%, minimally,” Coomler said.

TMC looked to guidance put out by Medicare about how to prioritize which elective procedures it should schedule first, according to Coomler. Administrators are also getting feedback from the hospital’s various surgical teams.

“The thing that concerns me or keeps me up at night is the dramatic reductions in heart attacks and strokes that are presenting to the emergency department. And I worry that we have people who say, ‘I don’t want to get COVID so I’m not going to go to the hospital,’ but that decision would result in something worse than COVID,” Coomler said.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona