20 large hospital networks received $5B in federal bailout funds

HHS has distributed $72 billion in grants to hospitals and other healthcare providers since April 1, with roughly $5 billion going to 20 large hospital chains, according to The New York Times, which cited an analysis of federal data by Good Jobs First.

The bailout funds came from the $175 billion in relief aid Congress has allocated to hospitals and other providers to cover expenses and lost revenue tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 20 hospital networks that collected $5 billion in aid under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act have combined cash reserves of $108 billion, according to The New York Times

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare and Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, both for-profit hospital operators, received a combined $1.5 billion in federal funds. An HCA spokesperson told The New York Times that the funds didn't cover its expected lost revenue and higher expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while a Tenet spokesperson said the pandemic has suppressed the company's net income. The two publicly traded companies operate a total of 251 hospitals across the U.S. 

Several nonprofit health systems received $150 million or more in federal relief aid, according to the report. Renton, Wash.-based Providence received $509 million in relief — about $10 million for each of its 51 hospitals. The health system, which The New York Times noted has nearly $12 billion in cash reserves, said it has lost $276 million as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, even with the CARES Act funding, Providence lost $179 million, a spokesperson told Becker's

"Providence is one of the best health systems in the world," said Scott Becker, publisher of Becker's. "We should all be aware that the closure of so much of health systems to non-COVID-19 issues, such as the stoppage of most surgery and a great deal of other care, has had a very challenging impact on the financial situation of great health systems." 

St. Louis-based Ascension, which has more than $15 billion in cash, received $211 million in federal relief aid, and Cleveland Clinic, which had about $7 billion in cash reserves last year, received $199 million, according to the report. 

The CARES Act payments "helped to partially offset the significant losses in operating revenue due to COVID-19, while we continue to provide care to patients in our communities," a Cleveland Clinic spokesperson told The New York Times

An Ascension spokesperson said the funds "facilitated our ability to serve our communities during this unprecedented time."

Ascension, which has more than 2,600 sites of care across 20 states, and Cleveland Clinic have not laid off or furloughed workers during the pandemic. More than 260 hospitals and health systems across the country have furloughed workers due to the pandemic in recent months. 

Access the full article from The New York Times here

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