Skip to main content

Analysis

AHA: Hospital Losses Could Top $323B in 2020

By John Commins  
   June 30, 2020

Financial woes for the nation's hospitals are worsening as the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge.

The nation's hospitals, with flattened patient volumes because of the coronavirus pandemic, are projected to lose more than $20 billion a month for the rest of 2020, according to a new report today from the American Hospital Association.

Those losses, combined with an estimated $202.6 billion in red ink hospital booked between March and June, mean that hospitals could see losses of $323.1 billion or more in 2020, the report said.

According to the AHA report, Hospitals and health systems are reporting average inpatient volume declines of 19.5% and 34.5% in outpatient volume relative to 2019.

Many hospitals are reporting that they do not expect volumes to return to pre-pandemic levels for the rest of 2020.

"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,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said in comments accompanying the report.

The federal government has already provided more than $170 billion in emergency funding for hospitals and health systems, but Pollack said that's not enough.

“While we appreciate the support to date from Congress and the Administration, this report clearly shows that we are not out of the woods. More action is needed urgently to support our nation’s hospitals and health systems and front-line staff,” he said.

As bad as the projected losses are, Pollack said the projections may still underrepresent the full damage inflicted on hospitals in 2020 because it does not account for the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country, and the potential for additional surges for the rest of the year.

Other expenses, such as increased acquisition costs for drugs and non-PPE supplies and equipment, are also not included in the AHA estimates. Nor do they include the long-term effects of the pandemic beyond 2020, AHA said.

“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. ”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Hospitals and health systems are reporting average inpatient volume declines of 19.5% and 34.5% in outpatient volume relative to 2019.

Many hospitals are reporting that they do not expect volumes to return to pre-pandemic levels for the rest of 2020.

The projected losses do not account for the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country, and the potential for additional surges for the rest of the year.


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.