Worth reading: This Hospital Cost $52 Million. It Treated 79 Virus Patients.

More from NYT on New York City’s shocking mismanagement of capacity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, discussed previously here. Excerpts below.

This Hospital Cost $52 Million. It Treated 79 Virus Patients.

“In past disasters, such as during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the state created a unified system across multiple agencies to transfer patients between hospitals. That did not happen during the coronavirus pandemic, leaving hospitals in low-income areas overwhelmed, while some wealthy private medical centers had open beds.

Instead, with projections forecasting a severe shortage of beds, officials focused on building field hospitals.

…Facing a projected shortage of 50,000 beds, federal officials spent more than $320 million to build facilities at two state colleges and the Westchester County Center, and the city spent about $20 million on a center at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, records show. In the end, reality never neared the dire projections, and none of those facilities opened.

The only makeshift hospital the city opened was at Billie Jean King.

…“This is a war effort,” Mr. de Blasio said in a news conference at the tennis center in late March, announcing it would open April 7. “This facility will be crucial.”

…SLSCO [the contractor who built the Billie Jean King facility] had recruited hundreds of workers from across the country. It paid most doctors about $600 an hour, or $900 for overtime, according to the contract — far more than the typical rates at hospitals. Registered nurses made more than $250 an hour, as did pharmacists and physician assistants.

But in the early days, they spent hours in orientation to learn computer systems, waiting to get fitted for masks and looking for equipment, workers said. They also said they had to complete repetitive paperwork.

“Extreme dysfunction,” Dr. Kim Sue said about working there. “Bureaucracy and dysfunction, and all kinds of barriers to serving patients.”

But the biggest barrier was simple: Hospitals did not send many patients to Billie Jean King.”

Full article here.