By Lauren Coleman-Lochner, John Tozzi, and Jeremy Hill: For More Info, Go Here…
The century-old Henry County Health Center in southeast Iowa was already losing money before the pandemic hit. With a shrinking number of births and trouble recruiting staff, it had planned to close its obstetrics department.
Then came the shutdown, which reduced the hospital’s revenue by half as profitable elective surgeries came to a halt. Even with some procedures set to start up again, Chief Financial Officer David Muhs sees no easy recovery.
“You just can’t turn the faucet back on,” he said.
It’s one of the cruelest realities of the coronavirus pandemic. America’s already-ailing hospitals are being pushed even further into financial ruin, threatening to force a growing number of them to file for bankruptcy or even close. The onslaught could result in some $202.6 billion in losses for hospitals across the country by the end of June, according to the American Hospital Association.
While even stronger facilities see revenue evaporate, the demands of the illness may hasten the demise of weak systems, and federal aid likely won’t be enough as millions lose the private insurance critical for hospitals to pay their bills.
“I just don’t know how many places survive this,” Rod Hochman, chief executive officer of Providence St. Joseph Health and chair-elect of the AHA, said in an April interview. “It’s going to be brutal.”