The masks and protective equipment being worn right now to keep people safe are considered necessary by most but still costly for those forced to implement requirements.
In Texas, face coverings for doctors and their patients are currently required.
And at offices like ER Near Me, the protection’s being taken even further with single-use gowns, gloves and face shields.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gorav Bohil said that’s currently costing his offices about $20 per patient.
“Just 5 months ago, we’d pay $1 per disposable gown. Now we’re paying upwards of $5, $7 a gown. The glove costs have gone up. The face shields have gone up. Masks have gone up. Everything’s anywhere from two to 10-fold,” said Bohil.
He said it's not only the cost of doing business but currently the only way to do business. So though some providers have passed on those increased costs to patients, he’s choosing to absorb them.
Still, he knows for smaller practices, those increased operating costs can be tough to handle.
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“We don’t anticipate our processes and our procedures changing for the rest of the year,” said Bohil.
At McKinney’s Comprehensive OB/GYN, Dr. Renee Chan said social distancing has meant fewer patients.
“I think we’re running about 45% of what we normally run and so we’re just barely, you know, covering overhead, we’re just barely making sure that we can stay open,” said Chan.
On top of that, increased demand for the N95 masks that are necessary for her staff means they’ve climbed to about five times their usual price. That’s if she can find them.
So when she said she had a day to fulfill a new state requirement to provide masks for patients too, she turned to Facebook asking the community for help.
They responded with 200 washable fabric masks.
“It really means that everyone’s working together and they’re coming together for their healthcare providers,” said Chan.
And with no end in sight for the new requirement and necessity for doctors to protect patients and staff, Bohil said the hope is costs will drop as production increases and that both state and federal governments will find ways to help.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.