Hospitals in the U.S. are facing the biggest economic and medical challenges in their history.
They are being hit with a triple whammy during the COVID-19 crisis that’s costing them $50 billion in lost revenues each month.
First, is the prohibitive cost of treating the flood of coronavirus patients. Secondly, they are losing valuable income from canceled elective procedures. Third, there’s the burden of cost treating the uninsured.
The federal government began distributing $30 billion in aid to hospitals across the country as part of the coronavirus relief package known as the CARES Act earlier this month. The government is expected to release another $20 billion Friday. But Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, told NPR that hospitals still have “a tremendous need.”
“I think it’s fair to say that hospitals are facing perhaps the biggest challenge that they have ever faced in their history,” he said. Pollack, whose organization represents nearly 5,000 hospitals, argued that the CARES Act was designed to provide emergency relief for uninsured and insured people and said there are other mechanisms in place to protect the uninsured.
“We think that these funds from the CARES Act really should be focused on maintaining the viability of hospital operations,” he told NPR.
One doctor on the front lines in Boston told ABC News that he feels hospitals have been overlooked in the national dialogue about the coronavirus’ impact on our economy.
“I think there’s been so much national focus on bailing out the airlines, but I think what people don’t realize is that the hospitals are in extreme financial trouble over the COVID-19 crisis,” he told ABC News. “If we don’t bail out the hospitals, we’re going to lose the very lifelines we have—the front lines we have—to fight this thing.”
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