Empty Hospital Room

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Kentucky Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer is calling on Gov. Andy Beshear to lift his emergency order and allow hospitals to resume elective surgeries.

"I’m calling on the governor to work with the Kentucky Hospital Association to get these hospitals open again," Thayer said. "It’s absolutely got them flat on [their] backs."
 
Thayer, a Republican from Georgetown, Kentucky, said Beshear’s ban on elective surgeries is costing hospitals millions of dollars and has hit rural hospitals especially hard.
 
"They’re laying off employees by the hundreds," Thayer said. "I think it’s time to lift the ban on elective surgeries and let these hospitals get their employees back to work." 
 
Beshear ordered a halt to all elective surgeries in mid-March to free up beds for COVID-19 patients, but Thayer said the feared overrun of the hospital system has not happened.
 
"There is plenty of capacity," Thayer said. "We’re not filling them up because of COVID patients. Many COVID patients are recuperating and recovering at home."
 
But Beshear said the issue is more than just beds; it's also the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
 
"With the nation being critically low on PPE, we can’t do that," Beshear said. "In fact, the president, the White House recommendations, long ago, said cease all elective procedures."
 
Russell Cox, the CEO of Norton Healthcare, agrees that PPE is the critical issue.
 
"While we feel good about where we are right now, there are no guarantees of that going forward," Cox said. 
 
But Thayer said the governor should at least begin the conversation about reopening hospitals — especially those is rural areas — before it becomes more of a financial emergency.
 
"And start showing some leadership on getting Kentucky open for business," Thayer added, "and I think hospitals would be great first place to start." 
 
Some who oppose Thayer on the issue admitted hospitals have been hit hard. But they said the decision to re-open should be based on science and safety — not just dollars and cents.
 
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