COVID-19 hospitalizations could include patients not seeking dir - FOX34 Lubbock

COVID-19 hospitalizations could include patients not seeking directly-related care

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In the last month, COVID-19 related hospitalizations across the South Plains have continued to rise.

Most of those patients receive medical care because of their advanced virus-related symptoms, but that is not always the case.

"If you have to stay overnight in our hospital, then you're actually counted on the in-patient census," C.E.O. of Lubbock Market Walt Cathey said.

Cathey, who represents Covenant Health,  says it is possible if you are getting an unrelated procedure, that you can be counted as a "hospitalized COVID patient" because of the required pre-screening process.

But, it's rare. 

"Do we ever have a patient come in for something completely different and they didn't know about it? We've actually only had about 8 of those total cases that came in, not knowing that they were COVID positive and then treating them," Cathey said. 

That's 8 total since testing began in March.

If there is a real need for that patient to remain under a doctor's care they most likely will be moved to a COVID floor, to prevent spreading the virus. 

"If they're tested and they don't really need to be in the hospitalized for anything else, then we send them home," Cathey said.

UMC also tests its patients ahead of surgery.

A statement from UMC reads:

"If test results are positive, the surgeon and anesthesiologist are consulted on whether the surgery need is great enough to continue, with the final decision up to the patient. Those positive tests are not counted as hospitalizations." 

When it comes to a possible incentive to have more COVID-19 patients, Cathey says there really is not one. 

Hospitals did receive funding through the CARES act, but he says it is not enough to cover all patient-care costs.

 "You have to track every single case, and how long they were here and total costs were and those type of things, and you have to send that into the reporting agencies. And if you didn't actually use the cash that you were fronted in April, you actually have to repay that," he explained.

As of Tuesday evening, the health department reported 84 hospitalized patients, with 44  on the floor and 40 in the ICU.


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