Hospitals Facing Critical Funding Shortage Under Pandemic


Despite the initial CARES Act funding, the American Hospital Association (AHA) warns hospitals are facing critical financial strain under the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the initial CARES Act funding, the American Hospital Association (AHA) warns hospitals are facing critical financial strain under the coronavirus pandemic.

WASHINGTON, DC — Despite the initial CARES Act funding, the American Hospital Association (AHA) warns hospitals are facing critical financial strain under the coronavirus pandemic.

“Congress has passed several bills that do provide relief, but we’re going to need more,” Rick Pollack, American Hospital Association president and CEO tells 104.7 WONK FM’s Jen Richer. “We’re hoping this next package that they’re working on will offer additional resources, the House version has and the Senate is taking a look at.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says a Republican stimulus bill should be ready to go early next week.Speaking on the Senate floor today, McConnell confirmed a "deal in principle" between Senate Republicans and the White House.

McConnell acknowledged that the national coronavirus crisis is "not over." He said the Republican bill will be smart, safe and sustainable, stressing that the bill's focus will be on jobs, healthcare and kids.

The details of those allocations are yet to be determined, in fact the only detail they've released so far is they intend to spend more than $100 billion dollars to help the nation's schools reopen.

Pollack says hospitals are being “hit with a triple whammy.” Those three challenges include, “the increase associated with preparing and caring for COVID patients and communities during this battle. The second is when non-emergent services shut down, that means all regular operations stop and there’s no revenue coming in. The third part of the triple whammy is the increased number of uninsured people as a result of the economic situation.”

AHA estimates in a recent report a minimum of $120.5 billion in financial losses, due in large part to lower patient volumes, from July 2020 through December 2020, or an average of $20.1 billion in losses per month.

“We’re there 24/7 and we take care of everyone who walks through our doors so those three things contribute to a very challenging financial situation, perhaps one of the most serious financial threats to the viability of hospital and health system that we’ve seen in our history,” Pollack warns.

Meanwhile, the number of known coronavirus infections in the U.S. is topping four million.According to Johns Hopkins University, nearly 144,000 Americans have died from COVID-19-related complications.

The number of Americans infected is only one sign the pandemic is getting worse in this country.The number of hospitalizations and deaths are also up.

The CDC said earlier this week that the actual number of cases could be as many as 13 times the confirmed total. That would be 52 million.The number of infections is on the rise in 39 states.They are on the decline in only two.

“Even before the COVID crisis hit, a third of the hospitals in the country were experiencing negative operating margins and of course as a result of this [pandemic] that will get worse,” Pollack said.

Listen to the full interview here:

Rick Pollack

For more information on the American Hospital Association's analysis can be found on the AHA website HERE.