MCALLEN, Texas – Despite the negative impact the coronavirus is having on the revenue streams of hospitals across country, South Texas Health System is in the hiring mode.

Todd Mann, CEO of McAllen Medical Center, said STHS currently has 190 positions it needs to fill. The 441-bed McAllen Medical Center is the flagship hospital of STHS.

“We totally believe in the government and our city officials trying to rebound from this economic devastation, as well as dealing with the clinical aspect of what COVID is doing,” Mann told The Rio Grande Guardian.

Mann acknowledged that STHS has been “flexing” some of its staff “due to softening volumes.” However, he said the system does still have 190 positions open.

“We are incredibly engaged in trying to reopen our community, to get the economic stimulus going again. We know that giving jobs out to our community members does that more than anything else,” Mann said.

Mann said he is encourage those that are out of work to apply for the positions available. “We want them to become part of this great family. We are doing our part on the clinical side as well the economic side.”

To see what jobs are available at STHS, click HERE. “Everything can be done online and over the phone, to save people coming in,” Mann said.

Mann pointed out that the new jobs are being paid for out of STHS’s general fund, not through stimulus money from the federal government.

“Unfortunately, at this time, we have not received any external funding. It is a strain financially for all healthcare systems during this time as we try to navigate where we are going to be at the end of this (pandemic),” Mann said.

The great thing about STHS, Mann said, is that it has “very resilient staff” who understand the ebbs and flows of patient volumes.

“We have flexed certain staff down, many of our non-essentials, but we have not terminated or otherwise let people go,” Mann said.

“We are expecting that we will see either a surge or a return to normalcy here in the next couple of weeks. We want to make sure we have the appropriate staff on hand to take care of whatever that may be. But, more importantly, to support our community with jobs.”

When COVID-19 hit, hospitals were instructed not to take elective surgeries. They have also had to shrink the number of outpatient beds. This has led to a sharp drop in revenues.

“This is a significant portion of hospital revenues and so to have that entire outpatient revenue source gone for a period of time is hurtful, quite frankly. We understand.”

One of the messages STHS is trying to get out to the community, Mann said, is that the hospital is now available to take at-risk patients.

“I know everybody is afraid to come the hospitals because of COVID. But, this is one of the safest places you can be. So, if you are having symptoms of chest pain or stroke or any other rehabilitating symptoms, please access a healthcare system immediately. Don’t wait until this is something that becomes more of an event that it needs to be. We are encouraging folks to access the hospitals if they can.”

With regard to elective surgeries, Mann said there is a mandate to not have them unless they are considered emergent.

“We have a committee that looks at that as well as with the surgeon with their professional medical judgment. And so, every day we are having seven to eight inpatient surgeries a day. That is is not to say it has all stopped but it is only the ones that definitely meet the criteria.”

Normally, McAllen Medical Center could have as many as 40 to 50 such surgeries taking place, Mann said.

“About 30 percent of volume on the inpatient side went down in a mere week. It was significant,” Mann acknowledged.

Asked how many COVID-19 cases, McAllen Medical has seen, Mann explained it has fluctuated.

“Now we have had testing we are doing to a very few, which is great. We are not seeing the surges we are seeing up north. Testing has been critical. We would cohort them as presumptive, but you would not know if they were positive or not but you were treating them as if they were. So, we probably had a high of 15, but that is not to say we had 15 positive. Once testing came in and we could sort of figure things out, it dwindled down to very few.”

Mann gave his exclusive interview to The Rio Grande Guardian on the day McAllen Medical Center released its first COVID-19 patient from hospital. Asked for any wrap-up remarks, Mann said:

“It is inspirational to be part of this team. During these trying times we are contenting to be here for our partners and out community and we always will. We could not do this without our great physicians and our staff that work so tirelessly everyday to make sure that we are here for our community.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Todd Mann, CEO of McAllen Medical Center.

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