COVID-19 could cause up to $122B hit to hospital revenue in 2021, study finds

The COVID-19 pandemic could cause hospitals to lose as much as $122 billion this year, according to a new study from healthcare consulting firm Kaufman Hall.  

The study, commissioned by the American Hospital Association, sought to understand COVID-19's effect on hospital finances. For the report, Kaufman Hall used historical hospital revenues and modeled different recovery factors to forecast 2021 hospital revenue.

According to the study, under a scenario in which there is a partial recovery of volumes, slow vaccine progress and cyclical COVID-19 surges, U.S. hospitals could lose $122 billion in revenue. This would include $64 billion in lost outpatient revenue, $41 billion in lost inpatient revenue and $17 billion in lost emergency department revenue.

But under a scenario in which there is consistent recovery of patient volumes, quick vaccine progress and a sustained decrease in COVID-19 cases, hospitals could face $53 billion in total revenue losses in 2021. This would include a $27 billion loss in outpatient revenue, $17 billion in inpatient revenue and $9 billion in emergency department revenue, according to the report. 

"Whether recovery from COVID-19 in 2021 is relatively rapid or relatively slow, America's hospitals will face another year of struggle to regain their financial health while providing necessary care and services to a nation that is continuing to experience the effects of an unprecedented pandemic," Kaufman Hall said. 


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