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ICYMI: State Health Care Admins Beg Gov. Parson to Take Action, Implement Mask Mandate as COVID-19 Patients Overwhelm Hospitals

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“We don’t seem to have a plan to try to decrease the cases and the hospitalizations.” – Texas County Memorial Hospital CEO Wesley Murray 

In case you missed it, a report by the Missouri Independent has revealed hospital administrators from across the state are pleading with the governor to address surging COVID-19 cases and issue a statewide mask mandate. The requests for action came during a Thursday call between Gov. Mike Parson and health care administrators who detailed how COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm health care systems in rural communities. Parson, who has refused to issue a statewide mandate, did not respond to the desperate pleas for action.

Instead, that same day, Mike Parson went back out on the campaign trail where he continued to hold large, indoor maskless gatherings – the very kind of event that Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Williams identified on the call as being the most likely to spread COVID-19 [19:47].

Missouri is facing a drastic rise in COVID-19 cases with October marking the worst month for cases and deaths. The state’s rural health care systems, which were already strained following hospital closures on Parson’s watch, are now on the brink of being overwhelmed. On the call, administrators told Parson that rural hospitals are facing a “transfer crisis,” with urban health centers refusing COVID-19 patients who need more care than can be provided locally.

From the beginning, Mike Parson has refused to take this crisis seriously. Now even as health care leaders are begging for him to help them save lives, all he can offer is “we’re gonna do what we can to help and still maintain a balanced approach.” [39:51

Translation? He’s not gonna do a dang thing.

Read the full article here and listen to a full recording of the call here. Key experts from the call are below:

Jeff Tindle, CEO of Carroll County Memorial Hospital 

“It’s taking us five or six calls to find an institution that will take a patient.” [15:40]

Wesley Murray, Texas County Memorial Hospital CEO:

“There are increased cases and increased hospitalizations […] It’s getting harder to transfer patients that we need to get to a different facility, whether they’re Q patients that need further care or COVID patients.” [16:58]

Wesley Murray, Texas County Memorial Hospital CEO:

“I respectfully ask what is our plan to address the increased cases and hospitalizations? Because nothing listed so far, the flu vaccine is great and all this, but we’re not actually, we don’t seem to have a plan to try to decrease the cases and the hospitalizations.” [17:51]

Richard J. Liekweg, BJC HealthCare President and CEO:

“We’re doing plenty of testing, we’re just not stopping the spread of the disease.” [28:05]

Richard J. Liekweg, BJC HealthCare President and CEO:

“I know I am a broken record, Governor and Dr. Williams, on this, but if you’d consider a mandate, rather than just an encouragement, statewide. We still have too many municipalities that are creating too many options for individuals. I think a statement coming from the governor would actually put us in a much better position that’s more of a mandate than just encouraging.” [28:13]

Jon Doolittle, Mosaic Medical Center President:

“So trying to help here, […] I talk to school officials and I talk to local officials and there is this sense that they know that perhaps being more restrictive in a lot of ways is the right thing to do right now. But nobody wants to go first. And if things come from the state level, that could help. It’s easier to march together toward  some of these things.” [35:10]