AHA head: Pandemic aid isn't enriching most hospitals; they are struggling

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A recent article published in The Washington Post suggesting COVID-19 provider relief funds enriched wealthy hospitals doesn't reflect the struggles the industry is facing, American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack wrote in a letter to the editor.

The Post article said that the nation's richest health systems thrived amid the pandemic, reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in surpluses after accepting pandemic relief funds.

Mr. Pollack argues that the Post's article cherry-picks data and fails to recognize that hospitals across the U.S. fought the pandemic, "all while facing their greatest financial crisis."

According to Mr. Pollack, in most instances hospital's didn't apply for the amount of funding they received from the provider relief fund. Additionally, if they received more funds than their COVID-19 expenses and lost revenue, the excess funding will be returned to the government.

"Congress recognized the critical role hospitals play as the backbone of our healthcare system, and swiftly took steps to provide support to ensure hospitals would remain resilient. The federal government created multiple formulas to allocate funds to all types of hospitals, and worked appropriately to get this critical relief out quickly as we were facing a crisis situation," Mr. Pollack wrote.

The AHA estimated that the hospital field would lose more than $320 billion in 2020, and could lose up to $120 billion in 2021. S&P Global Ratings and Moody's have also released financial outlooks predicting continued financial woes in 2021. 

"Each hospital and health system came into the pandemic with its own unique financial situation. Cherry-picking financial data from a few health systems is not reflective of the struggles and challenges facing our field," Mr. Pollack wrote. 

 

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