Hospitals and health systems across Pennsylvania are struggling to get back to their pre-COVID levels in some areas, according to a new study released by the state's hospital trade association and reported on by the Philadelphia Business Journal.
It's been a tough road back for hospitals, which saw their business cut drastically between mid-March and early May with the ban on elective surgeries and procedures as the state prepared for a massive influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients. That surge never occurred, but hospitals saw one measurable impact from the pandemic: Patient revenue and operating margin plummeted.
Pennsylvania's hospitals saw a $5 billion shortfall between March and July due to the pandemic that was down 24% from the same period a year ago, according to the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania's "Analysis of the Impacts of Covid-19 on Pennsylvania Hospitals" report. CARES Act funding — $2.8 billion to Pennsylvania hospitals — have helped ease the gap, but it's still a large amount that has gone unfilled, according to the report.
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The report, prepared by Health Management Associates, foresees continued revenue shortfalls and operating losses for some hospitals.
"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania's hospitals have been on the front line of battling the virus," said Andy Carter, president and CEO of HAP. "Absent additional and significant support from state and federal lawmakers, the long-term financial stability of hospitals — and as a result, patient access to care — remains in serious jeopardy."