COVID-19 Forces U.S. Health Systems into Unprecedented Financial Distress

Daily coverage of emergency rooms and intensive care units overwhelmed with coronavirus patients could give an impression that hospitals are profiting. The reality presents a stark contrast, with the sector’s recovery seeming distant.

In May, the American Hospital Association estimated $202.6 billion in losses for the period of March to June. Canceled and postponed non-emergency or elective procedures accounted for much of this projected impact on health systems and hospitals nationwide.

Additionally, pandemic-related expenses, such as purchasing personal protective equipment and added support for healthcare workers, also caused a strain.

The AHA updated its forecast two months later, adding $120.5 billion in losses from July to December 2020. This projection would equal $323.1 b...

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