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Hospitals deserve blame for ‘crisis standards of care’

Hospitals deserve blame for ‘crisis standards of care’

Wayne Hoffman
September 27, 2021
Wayne Hoffman
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September 27, 2021

Don’t blame the unvaccinated for the activation of the state’s “crisis standards of care” at Idaho’s hospitals. Blame the state’s big hospitals.

Going back to the 1980s, Idaho had close to four hospital beds for every 1,000 residents. Today, the state has slightly more than two beds per 1,000 residents. This isn’t just an Idaho problem. It’s one that U.S. hospitals have been facing for decades. 

Idaho’s hospital system has been weighed down by the state’s explosive population growth and bad decisions by the system’s biggest players, including decades of support for government programs that drive patients through the hospital doors.

By 2012, Idaho had 3,559 hospital beds, according to records from the state’s Department of Health and Welfare. By the end of 2019, Idaho’s hospital bed count had grown by 6% from 2012’s levels, while the state’s population grew by almost 12% over the same period. 

Such an uptick in residents might have been manageable had the hospitals not insisted on more government-run healthcare. After Congress passed Obamacare a decade ago, hospitals and their allies in the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry were at the forefront of trying to expand Medicaid. They got their wish in 2018 when voters bought the now-painfully-obvious con that Idaho would get the program for free. 

Medicaid expansion has had a well-documented negative impact on hospital utilization throughout the country. The Foundation for Government Accountability’s research shows how states that expanded Medicaid saw a reduction in hospital capacity while states that did not expand Medicaid were able to increase bed capacity. The IFF’s Fred Birnbaum has written extensively about the consequences Medicaid has had on state spending, noting the so-called “experts” grossly underestimated the program’s utilization by 53%.

If the increase in hospital utilization had an impact on the number of hospital beds at Boise’s largest hospitals, the data don’t show it. Saint Alphonsus had 387 beds in 2012. By July 2020, the hospital had actually reduced the number of available beds to 362. It maintained that number through July 2021. Over the same period, revenue at Saint Al’s nearly doubled. 

Records show St. Luke’s had 536 beds in 2012, 605 in July 2020, and 604 in July 2021. Just as with Saint Alphonsus, St. Luke’s has seen a near doubling of its revenue over the last decade. 

Moreover, the appearance of COVID-19 did little to change the availability of hospital beds in Idaho. In November 2019, Idaho had 3,783 beds. By summer of 2020, the hospitals statewide listed 3,817 beds, an increase of less than 1%. 

Despite the strain on the system, both major hospitals threatened to fire employees who refused the COVID-19 vaccine. And while St. Luke’s recently sent around a memo claiming that no one has been fired for not being forcibly penetrated with a COVID needle, some number of employees have reportedly quit because of the mandate. An unstaffed hospital bed is basically a bed that can’t be used. 

It’s convenient for the media and medical profession to point fingers at the unvaccinated for hospitals being at capacity. But the full story reveals the significant role the hospitals themselves played in getting us here. Not enough beds to begin with, demand for more government healthcare, lack of buildout once COVID hit, and unreasonable demands on employees also contributed significantly to creating the crisis at hand.

View Comments
  • Deep Midnight says:

    Amen, Brother. Thats what all of this is about actually; MONEY! All of it, including Gov. Littles actions. Its disgraceful.

    St. Lukes is one of the worst at abusing their charity status; they keep most of what they save by not paying taxes, and instead of helping those who can not pay their bills, they sue them. Disgraceful.

    I personally think we should revoke their tax free status before they own the entire city, instead of just half of it.

  • Great article. As a former CEO at St. Al's once told me----"Margin before Mission"
    Profit before patients. The Sister's that crossed the desert in 1892 to "serve the sick and the impoverished" would be very disappointed in our institutions who are struggling to keep their promise to our community. Sick patients should always be the priority. jml

  • Kathy says:

    Friend of mine who's a St Luke's, Boise, nurse told me recently that some time last year she and other nurses were told to stay home, with pay. She said that concurrenlty the hospital CEOs/spokespeople and the Gov were publicly hand-wringing and hyperventilating about the pressure that Covid put on the services and number of beds, admonishing recalcitrant Idahoans to get vaccinated. She said she didn't understand how they could say this, as she sat home on her couch, paid.

  • Saddleworn says:

    I'm curious what percentage of beds are actually occupied by those seriously ill with COVID-19 and those that are hospitalized for other reasons who just happen to test positive for COVID-19 and do not require care for it. It is my understanding that these latter patients are included in the COVID-19 counts without differentiation. If true, this could seriously skew the data and allow the hospitals to hide their role in a crisis that in fact is not COVID-19 related.

  • Unvaxxed in Healthcare says:

    Add into the mix "CARES" money and the federal strings attached and you get the vaccine mandate. Will guarantee that the CARES money is requiring the vaccine.

    Follow the money. Consider that all of these healthcare workers have been working closely with COVID patients for over 18 months. Sick pay was automatically provided immediately (long term sick pay) for them. So many of these healthcare workers have contracted COVID and have durable immunity from having it, yet are being forced to get vaccinated.

    Think the pharmaceutical companies "lobbied" the federal government for the vaccine mandate.....an ongoing revenue stream. First shot, second shot, booster, booster, booster. And now we are hearing about "break through" COVID after vaccine, along with the risks associated with the shot, why would a healthcare worker want one and why should they be forced to get one....especially if the have immunity (as, or more effective as the poke)? Cause they are a number and a revenue source for eternity.

    The hospitals having moved in the direction that they have, causing the shortage of beds along with healthcare staff and the "promise" that we can move on from COVID (IF you will just GET the VACCINE) is now creating animosity between the vaxxed and the un-vaxxed. All of this through the manipulation of the people through the MMS and their propaganda machine.

  • CheriTambini says:

    Characteristics of antiviral agents approved or under evaluation for treatment of COVID19
    #ivermectin is approved…2nd option and will not shut down your kidneys and lungs
    Print this in case you or a loved one has to go to hospital. Dr Bryan Ardis

    • brad gee says:

      Did you look at the table 2e? No where does it say that #ivermectin is approved for treating COVID-19, It does say that Remdesivir is approved for treatment, I even went a bit further and read the case studies linked in Table 2e , I am not a doctor or a math whiz, but it appears there is no significant differences in the the study groups and the control groups of any of the completed studies for ivermectin.

    • Maggie says:

      Cheri, I also listened to Dr. Bryan Ardis. I was glad that you commented on what this doctor said. He said that some hospitals are giving COVID-19 patients Remdesivir. He said that this medicine shuts down the kidneys; healthy kidneys get rid of the excess water in our bodies through urination. When the kidneys are shut down, the kidneys can no longer produce urine and our body fills up with excess water. This excess water then fills up our abdomen; then this water goes to the heart and fills up the pericardium; then to our lungs, and it fills them, and then the patient dies. He said that they are then said to have died with pneumonia. He said that it actually caused a problem called Pulmonary Edema.

      I have read that there are other countries that are successfully using Ivermectin for treating COVID-19. They are India, Africa, El Salvador,
      Mexico and Bangladesh. It costs very little in these countries to purchase Ivermectin. I read that it costs approximately $1.80 for a five-day treatment in these other countries.

      I have read that billions of dollars worth of Remdesivir was sold to our
      country. Apparently, the hospitals are charging at least $3,000 for the
      Remdesivir treatment. I do not want anyone to tell me how stupid I am,
      because this information is not from me. This is information that I have
      listened to or read on many occasions. I just thought that I would pass it on to the readers.

      I have another comment: If a person receives the so-called vaccine, they should not be able to catch COVID. If it were a true vaccine, they would be truly vaccinated against catching it. For our President to tell our country that the unvaccinated people are giving it to the vaccinated is truly unconscionable This administration is trying to divide our people against other people, and I do not believe that we should do this. I am rooting for all of our people to stay well or get well. I had a polio vaccine when I was a child, and I never did catch polio. Whenever I have had other vaccines, I never did catch the disease for which I was vaccinated.

      I have heard many doctors say that this so-called vaccine is an experiment. Many people have either gotten illnesses from this, or they have died because of it. Now, our primary technology websites will delete any information about this. I have also listened to researchers who say this so-called vaccine decreases our immune system. They have said that usually between 3 months and 5 years that a vaccinated person can develop auto-immune diseases and perhaps cancer. Like I have said, this information is not coming from me. It is from doctors and researchers.

  • TruthTeller says:

    Get vaccinated you frickin morons.

  • Terrie B says:

    Must be really comfy from your office to criticize and point fingers at the institutions and health care workers saving lives on the frontlines, Wayne. Truly, truly one of the stupidest pieces IFF has ever written. Congrats on your world class idiocy.

  • Bee says:

    1. The population growth here in No Idaho has been phenomenal, yet the medical sector has not geared up for it. 2. Not to mention the strain on bed availability when the financial benefit of keeping patients with Covid in longer than necessary plays in.

    Our dear friend fought hard to recoup with the hospital PT, his physician said he was good to go home, but the ''patient care'' planner said NO. They kept him an extra week for the money being paid them.

    My own doctor took Ivermectin for his bout with Covid, but is hopping mad because pharmacies such as RiteAid and Fred Myers refuse to fill his prescriptions for Ivermectin for his patients that need it. Cheap theraputics that work doesn't help the Big Pharma 'money jones.' It's wrong to put profits before human quality of life.
    We use a small pharmacy that will fill whatever THE DOCTOR requests. In addition will never shop the retail portion of these 'pharmacies.' If you opt to do the same be sure and call the local store manager so that they know WHY.

  • Missing pieces says:

    So, are profits good, or bad? Your article contains a lot of baloney.

  • Fontaine Cooper says:

    This is an absolute dogshit article. It's clear the hospitals are at fault for people failing to protect themselves and others and getting us to this point. But sure, keep pumping yourself full of horse and cow dewormer. That should bring an end to the madness.

  • CR says:

    So much easier to point fingers and play dumb, isn't it?

  • FoundingMama says:

    Wayne, this article hits the nail on the head. And it backs up everything Ed Humphreys has been documenting, that the problem is cronyism, corruption, and too much government. Why are you guys supporting Janice? She sent out a campaign email today and this was her solution:

    "In November 2020, while serving on the Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee (CFAC), I offered a proposal to Gov. Little that would have allowed Idaho to expand its healthcare capacity if our hospitals were ever overwhelmed and would have increased nursing capacity and pay. Here are some of the elements of that proposal:

    Three relocatable, modular healthcare facilities across the state (originally intended for North Idaho, the Treasure Valley, and East Idaho.)
    Nearly $9 million to hire more than 100 nurses to staff these facilities 24/7.
    High-end, professional air purifiers for each modular healthcare facility.
    My proposal would have required a modest investment, but had it been accepted, Idaho might not be facing such a dire situation today with facility overcrowding, healthcare worker shortages, and the accompanying suffering and death these problems aggravate."

    Janice obviously does not understand the core of the problem. Here proposal that even ONE CENT of taxpayer money should go to solve the problem disqualifies her to lead. The taxpayers have been on the hook for the millions of COVID dollars the hospitals have received from the federal government (St. Luke's received over $130 million, their CEO makes 8.5 million, and they pay NO property taxes.) The taxpayers have been on the hook for the expansion of Medicaid too. It's not the taxpayers fault that the hospitals decided to decimate their staff with a vaccine mandate during a nurse's shortage. And now the taxpayers get to pay for the Idaho National Guard to rescue these big corporations that hate our freedoms.

    Janice is not qualified to lead and your article proves it. If a person doesn't understand the problem they can't fix it!

  • Bill Wanaugh says:

    Anti- maskers and anti-vaxxers were the problem.
    I will stick with the studies from Harvard, John Hopkins and the CDC.

  • Barry says:

    Hospitals are a business and exist to make money. As much money as possible. Ethics doesn’t mean a thing to their bottom line.

  • Steverino says:

    Man, you contort things in a crazy way. Obamacare helped small hospitals survive. Hospital's capitalist drive to make money is the root and foundation of a no government regulation philosophy. The dumb as a stump charge seems applicable here

  • Jeanne Williams says:

    Thank you. I have been waiting for someone to point out the American Iindustrial complex is responsible for some of the problem. Huge administration salaries and no investment in expansion. Any major catastrophe would cause the same shortages. They are more worried about doing research on sex changes for kids than handling the pandemic.

  • Tom says:

    FURTHERMORE: What do the hospitals tell people to do who tested positive for Covid? Nothing. Go home, quarantine, call us if you get sicker.

    That's it.

    NO PRE-TREATMENTS, no HCQ, no Ivermectin, no vitamin D, C, and Zinc to boost your immune system.

    No wonder hospitals are overrun. (Well, if they are.)

    Why haven't the hospitals recommended these inexpensive EARLY treatments?

    There. Is. No. Money. In. It.

    For this reason, and the others mentioned, this hospital crisis is self-inflicted.

    And, of course, the Idaho Statesman, as always, provides propaganda. No skeptical coverage, no questioning, at all. Terrible reporting.

    • Dono says:

      Tom - you are correct. also, the fda and cdc are bigger problems. by their own regulations: they cannot give ANY new drug emergency use authorization if there is an effective, readily available alternative. that is why there was such a massive denial and backlash against hydroxy ivermect and anyone who spoke in favor of exploring them as an option.

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