Washington Correspondent Jessi Turnure discusses state of healthcare industry during pandemic

Coronavirus Watch

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Even doctors and other health professionals are not immune from the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

While many hospitals’ Emergency and ICU areas have been ‘all hands on deck,’ other healthcare professionals are facing layoffs and financial woes.

Brandon Bartlett talks with Jessi Turnure from our Eyewitness News Washington Newsroom.


Brandon Bartlett: And Jessi joins us now from Washington. This is eye-opening, because many of us think of the healthcare industry as booming right now. What exactly would those in healthcare like to see Congress do to help their industry out?

Jessi Turnure: Yeah, I mean, you’re right. When everybody’s watching on the news — really, what you’re seeing is the hospitals that are impacted the most — the ICUs and the Emergency Rooms trying to deal with that influx of patients that likely have the Coronavirus. And then, they’re starting to treat them on ventilators, and everything else. And so, yeah, a lot of people don’t even realize that other doctors, nurses — whose livelihoods depend on these elective surgeries — have really not even been going into the office. And, these elective surgeries can be anything from a colonoscopy to a hip replacement to dental surgeries. So, people all across the healthcare spectrum are really having to put this off, and in turn, all those doctors and nurses, and even those who, you know, work the desks and things of that nature, are not able to work. And, so, yeah — Congress, the doctor, I talked to, Phil Roe — Congressman Roe, who he was saying that, essentially, Congress could just kind of tweak some things in the legislation that’s already been passed — like we’ve seen lawmakers do with other aspects that have been hit by Coronavirus. And, essentially, just say, you know, the hospitals — there’s funding for them. Why don’t we help out these other medical professionals, as well? And, so, what they’ve been seeing — and you know, it’s kind of typical of things where you just kind of have to go day by day. But, some groups, some people can fall through the cracks. And then, you kind of have to make up from it from there. So, that’s what they’re hoping, ultimately is that — potentially, that these people, these medical professionals could get some money, as well.

Brandon Bartlett: And, once elective surgeries are given the green light again, do doctors expect to bring those furloughed workers back?

Jessi Turnure: They’re hoping so, just with everything that we’ve seen. Everything is kind of this ‘sunrise’ approach, I think, is what a lot in the healthcare industry is doing. It’s not a light switch flipping a switch — it’s a sunrise. They will potentially be bringing all of them back. That’s the purpose of them being put on furlough. But, it won’t happen all at once, since a lot — some states even today — I think it was Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, just to name a handful there — they did start elective surgeries again, today. But they’re, you know, it’s not like there could be a, you know, line out the door or anything of that nature. And then, there still are probably people — still very skeptical of going in and getting a procedure done. And so, it’ll probably just be a phased-in approach, just like we’ve been seeing with everything else. So, a lot of co-workers may not be back to working together still for some time.”

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(This story was originally published on April 29, 2020)

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