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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Nemours CEO discusses COVID-19 challenges and opportunities

Nick Ciolino
Delaware Public Media

Health care systems around the country - including here in Delaware - have been coping with the coronavirus pandemic for months now.

And while the case level here in the First State has not taxed hospital capacity as it has elsewhere,  health care systems here are navigating a number of issues and challenges.

We recently sat down with Nemours CEO Dr. Larry Moss to discuss some of those issues and challenges,  and some of the opportunities found in the new normal created by the pandemic.

Children’s hospitals and health systems have not been immune from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in some ways have taken a bigger hit than the adult facilities.

"The financial hit that we've taken is significantly more than adult hospitals in many respects," said Nemours CEO Dr. Larry Moss

Moss notes that children’s hospitals have faced the same reduction of services provided as other hospitals, and invested the same amount in protecting staff with PPE’s and altering their work practices.

But Moss points out that adult hospitals have had more COVID-19 patients to treat, mitigating some of those extra expenses, where hospitals like Nemours have not.

"Children's hospitals had all the downside and none of the mitigation essentially," said Moss. "Also, at least in the early stages of the federal response to the financial crisis and health institutions, [they] have have been somewhat left out. Now we're taking some steps to hopefully remedy that, and we made some partial gains, but not all the way back."

Moss says the hospital is in the ballpark of $100 million behind its projections, but they have a plan to get through this short-term challenge.

And Moss assures that Nemours expects to be around long-term to take care of kids. 

He says Nemours is making big strides forward in areas like telehealth. 

According to Moss, telehealth appointments went from 50-to-100 per week prior to the pandemic to 2,000-to-3,000 in the first week after COVID.

"That's a pretty big increase in one week and it was massively successful from the providers perspective, from the patients perspective, from the families perspective," said Moss. "So that is absolutely wonderful, and it's - I think I used the terminology in something I wrote about this recently - as if we made 10 years of progress in 10 days."

Moss adds another positive is the hiring of former Delaware Dept. of Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker as Nemours new Senior Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer.

Moss says Walker’s connections and relationships in Delaware is a bonus as Nemours works with the state as a partner to make Delaware’s kids the healthiest in the world.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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