COVID-19 will push hospital losses to $54B this year, report estimates

A new analysis shows the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to drive hospital and health system losses throughout 2021. 

The analysis, prepared by Kaufman Hall and released by the American Hospital Association Sept. 21, shows delayed care and higher expenses for supplies, labor and drugs will negatively affect the financial health of hospitals. The report projects hospitals across the nation will lose about $54 billion in net income this year, even after taking into account relief provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Without federal relief funds, losses would be as high as $94 billion, according to the report. 

More than a third of hospitals are expected to end 2021 with negative margins, according to the analysis. 

"America’s hospitals and health systems continue to face significant, ongoing instability and strain as the COVID-19 pandemic endures and spreads," Rick Pollack, AHA president and CEO, said in a news release. "With cases and hospitalizations at elevated levels again due to the rapid spread of the delta variant, physicians, nurses and other hospital caregivers and personnel are working tirelessly to care for COVID-19 patients and all others who need care."

The analysis incorporates hospital performance data from the first two quarters of this year. Projections were made for the rest of 2021 based on that data.

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