Hospitals stand to lose millions as neurosurgery, orthopedics sidelined

Laura Dyrda -  

Hospitals across the U.S. cut elective, non-essential orthopedic, spine and neurosurgery procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some states are beginning to look ahead to re-opening some operating rooms for non-COVID-19 patient procedures, but in hard-hit areas, medical supplies are still needed on the front lines. While hospitals have canceled or postponed most orthopedic, spine and neurosurgery cases, they are losing significant revenue.

Neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons and invasive cardiologists all generate more than $3 million per physician on average for hospitals every year, according to a survey conducted by physician search firm Merritt Hawkins. Specialist physicians generated $2.5 million per physician on average in 2018, the most recent report available, and many of those physicians are no longer taking cases.

While the average orthopedic surgeon brings in $3.2 million revenue for the hospital per year, their average salary of $533,000 makes them valuable to the hospitals. Neurosurgeons generating $3.4 million have an average salary of $687,000. Without these surgeons performing cases, hospitals are losing millions; the CEO of Yuma (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center has asked the state to allow some elective procedures after reporting that losses are hitting $400,000 per day without them.

The federal government is providing some aid to states and hospitals, but many are still struggling financially while focusing attention on treating COVID-19 patients.

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