The Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance's 506 employees have been sidelined since March 23, when Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order barring nonessential procedures during the COVID-19 crisis, Nashville Business Journal reports.
"For me it was like, 'Go, go, go, go, go,' and all of a sudden I have a forced sabbatical," TOA President William Kurtz II, MD, told NBJ. "It was the right call … but it's not what I was planning on."
While similar mandates in more than 30 states could put hospitals and surgery centers in financial straits, Dr. Kurtz said he is most concerned about the nurses and support staff who work alongside him.
"The people that are going to be hit the hardest are the employees. Most of them are living more paycheck-to-paycheck," said Dr. Kurtz, an orthopedic surgeon. "Scrub techs, recovery room nurses, floor nurses, physical therapists. I'm just one guy doing one surgery, but there are probably 25 to 30 people who make their living off that one surgery. You can cancel my surgeries, but the downstream repercussions for that are huge."
Becker's Spine Review reached out to TOA for comment and will update this story if more information becomes available.