State Hospital Budgets Feel Cost Of Treating COVID-19 Patients

Wednesday, September 8th 2021, 4:34 pm
By: Tevis Hillis

Millions of dollars go into serving the public as COVID-19 cases continues to spike. This means many hospitals are paying millions to bring in the help they need to stay open.

"At Mercy, we have paid upwards of $4 million in just one month to acquire the correct number of nurses to care for COVID patients," said Jesse Campbell with Mercy Clinic. 

Right now, nurses are in such high demand, they are currently charging $165 an hour. 

"We have lost staff in critical areas such as nurses and respiratory therapy to high dollar contracts inside and outside Oklahoma," said Jay Johnson with Duncan Regional Hospital. 

Health officials are telling state lawmakers the cost is immense, but the alternative is worse. 

At OU Health, operating costs jumped from $2 million to $13 million a month, leaving OU Health at a $29 million loss for the last few months of this year.

Right now, COVID-19 patients are staying 50% longer than other patients taking beds, materials and ventilators.

Health officials are seeing more deaths in the last year than their entire careers.

Health officials said the vaccine was our chance to skip this capacity issue, but now, they continue to fight the pandemic of the unvaccinated.  

Click here to view the most up-to-date ICU bed availability in the Oklahoma City metro.