Last week the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and American Hospital Association, wrote a letter to Senate leaders asking for Congress to allocate as part of the next COVID-19 relief package at least an additional $100 billion to the emergency relief fund to provide direct funding to front line health care personnel and providers, including Nurses, Doctors, hospitals and health systems, to continue to respond to this pandemic.
The letter said, “For outpatient providers, there continues to be decreased demand for services, and those offices and facilities that are open are scheduling fewer patients due to social distancing precautions while incurring higher expenses for scarce personal protective equipment and other supplies. This is causing severe financial stress on Physicians, Nurses, hospitals and health systems.”
According to the AMA, Physicians, Nurses, hospitals and health systems have seen huge expenses due to the pandemic. These include:
- Sourcing and purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies.
- Standing up emergency operations centers.
- Providing higher staffing levels and backfilling when necessary.
- Providing housing and care for patients who do not require hospitalization but do not have housing in order to prevent spread of COVID-19.
- Constructing or retrofitting facilities.
Front-line health care providers are experiencing significant financial losses. These is due to:
- Hospitals in some communities facing a COVID-19 spike have again stopped providing nonurgent surgeries to ensure there is increased capacity for COVID-19 patients.
- Outpatient providers continue to experience lower demand for services as patients remain in isolation.
- Offices that are open are scheduling fewer patients due to physical-distancing precautions while incurring higher expenses for scarce PPE and other supplies.
Another letter by the three associations was released earlier this month, stating, “America’s hospitals and health systems, Physicians and Nurses urge you to include in the next COVID-19 relief bill provisions to strengthen the federal response for racial and ethnic minority and marginalized communities, which are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”
“Data from the COVID Data Tracking Project at The Atlantic indicates that Black people are dying at a rate nearly two times higher (24%) than their share of the population (13%), and that in 42 states, LatinX people make up a greater share of confirmed cases than their share of the population. Similar inequities are beginning to emerge in state-reported data for Native Americans and Asian Americans, although the data are not granular enough to ascertain which Asian American communities are most impacted.” the letter stated.
Kaufman Hall, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said that due to factors such as staffing inadequacies, the cancellation of elective surgeries and shortages of personal protective equipment, U.S. hospitals are anticipating about $120 billion in losses from July to December alone.