Hospitals ask for $100B in emergency coronavirus funding

Groups representing hospitals, physicians and nurses asked Congress March 19 for $100 billion in funding to offset losses tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Congressional leaders, the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association said the funding is needed to help overcome supply shortages, staffing shortages and financial challenges that hospitals and other providers are facing due to COVID-19.

"It is clear that the expenses associated with responding to COVID-19 will be extraordinary," the letter states. "Based on the initial costs in the states with growing COVID-19 community spread, Congress should allocate $100 billion to frontline health care personnel and providers, including physicians, nurses, hospitals and health systems, and direct the federal agencies to begin to infuse funds immediately so that they can afford to take the necessary steps to fight the battle against this unseen enemy."

Specifically, funding is needed to cover lost revenue due to the suspension of elective procedures not related to COVID-19. The funding would also be used to cover several other expenses related to the outbreak, including additional training for healthcare providers, hiring additional staff, purchasing supplies and equipment, and constructing or retrofitting facilities to provide separate areas to screen for COVID-19.

Funding is also needed to cover childcare for frontline healthcare workers, the groups said.

"Schools have closed in numerous states, leaving many frontline health care personnel with an impossible choice — caring for their children or caring for their patients — a choice that can be alleviated if Congress takes swift and comprehensive action to assist with providing childcare during this unprecedented time," the letter states.  

Ensuring childcare is provided for healthcare workers is a crucial part of effectively responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, the groups said.  

"The ability for frontline health care personnel to go to work and provide care to patients will make the difference in whether those who contract COVID-­19 and have life threatening or serious complications from the disease recover or not," the letter states.







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