Dallas hospital bounces back from Ebola losses

The Ebola bump proved to be only temporary for Texas Health Presbyterian (THR), according to Becker's Hospital Review.

The Dallas-based hospital that is part of the THR network took a big financial hit after treating the first patient diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States, setting off a minor panic that led to some limited quarantines elsewhere in the country. That patient, a Liberian national known as Thomas Eric Duncan, eventually died at THR Dallas after initially being misdiagnosed with sinusitis and being released.

THR Dallas closed its emergency room to patients for nine days in mid-October, causing the number of patients who came through the ER to drop by 49 percent. The hospital also lost many elective patients due to a torrent of bad publicity.

As a result, the hospital's net revenue plunged by 25 percent, or $12.2 million, in October 2014 compared to the prior year. During November, when other cases of Ebola were diagnosed in the United States, revenue was down by 17.1 percent.

Containment of the Ebola virus in West Africa has been one of the biggest challenges facing healthcare workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited it as the agency's biggest challenge for 2014. Although cases of Ebola in the United States have been sporadic at best and have been isolated to relief workers who returned from West Africa, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said Americans would be completely safe from the virus only when it was stopped at its source.

However, December tells a completely different story, Becker's noted. Financial data from THR shows the Dallas facility has returned to "pre-event daily net revenue" for the first 15 days of the month. Moreover, ER visits to the hospital were down only 3.7 percent compared to the prior December.

To learn more:
- read the Becker's Hospital Review article