Hospitals have pushed to the brink during the pandemic and financially they’ve also taken a toll.
On Wednesday, the California Hospital Association held a press conference with hospital officials to unpack the current financial predicament facing hospitals and why the pandemic cooling off doesn’t necessarily mean an automatic reset for them.
Carmela Coyle, the President and CEO of the California Hospital Association, says the pandemic has stripped hospitals and made them financially vulnerable despite relief seeping through.
“The pandemic has now left a majority of California's hospitals financially challenged, unstable and in some cases broken,” Coyle says.
Coyle cited recent findings from Kaufman Hall, who found that hospitals have sustained $8.4 billion in losses and that’s with the government stepping in to provide assistance in 2020. They project hospital losses to be around $600 million to $2 billion for 2021.
During Wednesday’s conference, many hospitals voiced their concerns, detailing how their facilities lacked the necessary infrastructure and resources to handle a pandemic.
UC San Diego Health's CEO Patty Maysent says smaller operations aren’t the only ones who have been hit. Big ones are also struggling to make up for lost time and money.
“Not just the small hospitals who you've heard from already today are so desperate for help and support but even the large systems,” Patty Maysent says.
Sharp Healthcare CEO Chris Howard says the pandemic has also been a trying time for Sharp, where they’ve seen an impact of around $244 million, a number which represents financial losses and additional costs incurred to combat COVID-19 inside hospitals. He says government relief helped bring down the number but the losses are still significant.
“We are still having to provide additional staff to care for those patients and having to pay for significant amounts of PPE and other supplies to care for that patient population,” Howard says.
He also mentioned that dwindling numbers in emergency departments and people forgoing elected surgeries have also added to their loss in revenue.