Hospitals & Health Systems at the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

Hospitals in New Hampshire have stood up strong in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to be prepared for and care for those in need.  We are extremely disappointed in the decision today by Governor Sununu to allocate $20 million to help hospitals confront the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Governor’s decision runs counter to the strong, bipartisan recommendation of the GOFERR Legislative Advisory Board to invest $100 million in hospital relief funds in recognition of the hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue hospitals across New Hampshire are experiencing and will continue to experience. 

At the urging of national and state public health leaders, hospitals suspended all non-urgent, elective surgeries and procedures in mid-March to prepare for the potential surge of COVID-19 patients.  We did so because it was the right thing to do, but it has had disastrous financial consequences for hospitals all across New Hampshire.  Through the months of March and April, hospitals across the state have lost more than $300 million in revenue, and that will only continue in the months ahead.  While funding from the Federal CARES Act provided over $100 million to hospitals in April, their losses are simply unsustainable.  In early May, rural hospitals received another $112 million in support from the CARES Act, but not all hospitals in New Hampshire received funding, and we are estimating that hospitals losses in May will rival those in April.  By the end of June, we estimate that hospitals across New Hampshire will lose close to $700 million.

While we appreciate the funding made available through the CARES Act, there is no way that it will be adequate to provide the relief hospitals in New Hampshire are going to need to get through this crisis so that they can continue to be there for the patients and communities, today and into the future.  That is why hospitals supported the strong, bipartisan recommendation that came out of the GOFERR Legislative Advisory Board to invest $100 million to help hospitals confront the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.