COVID-19 response impact: Virginia hospitals projected to lose $3B by year’s end
Hospitals, in the States, are a business, and business hasn’t been good in 2020, which might seem counterintuitive, given that 2020 has been almost entirely about public health.
Measures put in place by Gov. Ralph Northam to stem the spread of COVID-19 put a massive hit on cash flow for hospitals across the Commonwealth, which are on pace to lose more than $3 billion by years end, according to Dr. Mike McDermott, the chairman of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association’s Board of Directors and the president and CEO of Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg.
“Turning our focus to COVID-19 also meant temporarily suspending non-emergency procedures this spring to free up bed space, preserve PPE, and limit the spread of this virus. Taking that step, as well as making necessary investments in collaboration with our state and federal government partners, has resulted in billions in losses for Virginia hospitals even after accounting for federal relief aid provided from the CARES Act,” McDermott said at the opening of a webinar presenting data on the COVID-19 impact on Virginia hospitals.
The webinar offered details on such data points as patient length of stay, hospitalizations by age, gender, and payer type, and the presence of comorbidities in patients hospitalized for coronavirus treatment.
Also highlighted was the business side, with the report that inpatient discharges were down 16.2 percent in the second quarter of 2020 – the first three months of the pandemic response – and emergency department visits were down a staggering 36 percent.
Inpatient and emergency services are important profit centers for U.S. hospitals.
Virginia hospitals have requested $219 million in relief from the more than $3 billion allocated to the state through the federal CARES Act.
“Receiving even that amount would not come close to offsetting the multibillion-dollar financial impact hospitals face. But it would be an important show of support for Virginia’s hospitals and health systems as we continue to rise to the challenge of battling COVID-19,” McDermott said.
Story by Chris Graham