Many Hospitals Are Struggling To Absorb Financial Losses From Non-Coronavirus Patients
In an odd twist to the pandemic, hospitals are actually struggling financially as beds that would have been taken by non-COVID patients sit empty. Health care workers are bearing the brunt of the distress, having their hours and pay cut. In other hospital and costs news: price disclosures, CARES grants, and unused field hospitals.
The COVID-19 Effects Hospitals Didn't Foresee: Financial Distress
Dr. Bill O'Callahan, an emergency physician, rested his elbows on his desk, his head in his hands. Despite his whirlwind thoughts -- a recent COVID-19 patient with failing lungs, a 30% pay cut, the dangers he faced on a daily basis -- he still counted himself among the fortunate. He was healthy, and he still had a job -- for now. (Anoruo, 5/7)
Hospitals Lose Money During Pandemic; Healthcare Workers Face Layoffs, Cut Hours
Michelle Sweeney could barely sleep. The nurse in Plymouth, Mass., had just learned she would be furloughed. She only had four hours the next day to call all of her patients. "I was in a panic state. I was sick over it," Sweeney said. "Our patients are the frailest, sickest group."Sweeney works for Atrius Health as a case manager for patients with chronic health conditions and those who have been discharged from the hospital or emergency room. (Fadel, Stone, Anderson and Benincasa, 5/8)
Hospitals Ask Federal Court To Toss Rule On Negotiated Rates
Hospitals on Thursday pushed a federal judge to throw out a rule that would force them to disclose the prices they negotiate with commercial health insurers, saying that Congress didn't give HHS the power to do it. Lawmakers only allowed the federal government to make hospitals post a list of so-called "standard charges" and the rates they charge for diagnostic-related groups, argued Cate Stetson, an attorney for Hogan Lovells representing hospitals, during a telephonic hearing before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. (Brady, 5/7)
Which Hospitals Received The Biggest CARES Grants?
HHS has released preliminary data about how the department distributed grant funds Congress set aside to help providers offset lost revenue and COVID-19-related costs. The disclosure only includes providers who have already accepted terms and conditions for the first $50 billion general grant distribution from the $175 billion provider relief fund created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. (Cohrs, 5/7)
COVID-19 Is Exposing Cracks In The US Health System, Experts Say
Dr. Mary Bassett addressed an audience in Boston last October. "This epidemic is complicated, and like all epidemics, it tracks along fissures in our society,” Bassett, a professor at Harvard's public health school, told the crowd. Bassett was talking about the opioid crisis, but her turn of phrase was prescient. She just as easily could have been referring to the COVID-19 epidemic, for which the United States has emerged as the epicenter, making up a third of the world's infections and a quarter of its deaths by May. (Schumaker, 5/8)
U.S. Field Hospitals Stand Down, Most Without Treating Any COVID-19 Patients
As hospitals were overrun by coronavirus patients in other parts of the world, the Army Corps of Engineers mobilized in the U.S., hiring private contractors to build emergency field hospitals around the country. The endeavor cost more than $660 million, according to an NPR analysis of federal spending records. (Rose, 5/7)