In fact, the final dollar amount will likely be much higher. The report’s authors did not take certain factors, including wage and labor costs, into account due to a lack of available data.
The report’s authors gathered survey data from 1,360 hospitals. Providers reported an average inpatient volume reduction of 19.5% and an average outpatient volume reduction of 34.5%. Acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) is another significant cost included in the final report.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the demand for PPE remains high relative to normal operations,” according to the report. “This high demand is further heightened as inpatient and outpatient volumes return to baseline levels over time and additional PPE is needed. In addition, some states are requiring hospitals to maintain two weeks or more of PPE reserves in the event of a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Collectively, these factors are increasing the need for and expense on PPE for hospitals.”
“This pandemic has shown once again why America’s hospitals and health systems are indispensable cornerstones of their communities,” Pollack said. “However, hospitals and health systems are in the midst of the greatest financial crisis in our history, as we continue to fight this pandemic at the same time that non-COVID patient visits remain down. While we appreciate the support to date from Congress and the Administration, this report clearly shows that we are not out of the woods.”
The report comes as confirmed cases continue to rise in certain parts of the country. If that surge continues, the AHA warns, the financial impact “could be even more significant.”