Ballad Health will begin offering same-day surgical procedures next Monday, as the system works through the first few weeks of ramping up its return to performing all elective surgeries, said Dr. Beth Jackson, chief of staff at Holston Valley Medical Center. “We’re doing this in a slow, efficient and safe manner to protect everyone involved,” Jackson told a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon. All patients will be tested for COVID-19 before allowed to undergo their procedures. “We have established criteria to help us triage so we are doing the right cases at the right time.” Ballad Chairman and CEO Alan Levine said the current backlog of surgical cases is around 5,000.
Levine also said Ballad Health has reached the point of being able to offer Coronavirus testing to anyone. The system is asking that anyone who wants a test call 833.822.5523. The cash cost of the test is $52, Levine said, adding that the system is happy to bill insurance for the amount, and that the system’s charity policy remains in place for testing.
Levine also confirmed the Ballad board of directors has approved taking a $130 million line of credit in order to maintain its cashflow and insure it meets all bond obligations as it pays back a $200 million advance offered by Medicare later this year. In addition to the Medicare advance, Ballad has received $38 million through two CARES Act payments. “We are grateful to the public for that,” Levine said. “It’s their money.”