Hospitals

The Pandemic Is Hurting Pediatric Hospitals, Too

Children have largely escaped the ravages of COVID-19, but children’s hospitals have not eluded the financial pain the pandemic has wrought on health care providers.

Pediatric hospitals offered themselves as backups to their adult counterparts in case of a surge of coronavirus patients. They suspended nonemergency surgeries and stockpiled protective gear and virus test kits, according to hospital executives and financial analysts.

But, in many regions, the surge was smaller than anticipated – or hasn’t materialized. And children’s hospitals that have offered to take sick kids off the hands of adult hospitals, or extend the age of people they admit, have not seen an influx of patients to fill the beds they emptied. As a result, numerous pediatric facilities, like many of the adult ones, face sharply declining revenues and extra expenses.

“We turned off a significant volume of our activity for a surge that isn’t going to occur. And

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Under COVID Cloud, Prisons In Rural America Threaten To Choke Rural Hospitals

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept into Montana, it spread into the Marias Heritage Center assisted living facility, then flowed into the nearby 21-bed hospital.

Toole County quickly became the state’s hot spot for COVID-19 deaths, with more than four times the infection rate of all other counties and the most recorded deaths in the state. Six of the state’s 16 COVID deaths through Tuesday have occurred here.

But another danger loomed: What if it got into the prison, less than 4 miles away from the hospital and assisted living facility? The county was nearly overwhelmed as it was. Across rural America, prisons and jails sit in places like Toole County that have minimal intensive care unit beds and ventilators and few additional medical resources. Many hospitals there were strained before the pandemic.

This rural, 5,000-person county tucked under the Canadian border might not have seemed like a breeding ground for

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Amid Coronavirus Distress, Wealthy Hospitals Hoard Millions

Inova Health System, with campuses in some of the wealthiest suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Truman Medical Centers, a safety-net hospital in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, have little in common. But, today, they are confronting the same financial plague: mass cancellations of nonessential surgeries that are their biggest moneymakers while bracing for an expensive onslaught of coronavirus patients.

Yet Truman has less than a month’s worth of cash reserves to keep it afloat while Inova entered the outbreak with enough money to operate for at least 21 months, according to Inova’s financial disclosure for 2019, before the stock market decline. At that time, Inova told its bondholders it had $3.1 billion in investments it could liquidate within three days. Tapping any of that may never be necessary because Inova also drew down its entire $238 million line of credit earlier this year to prepare for the pandemic.

“At the end

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Furor Erupts: Billions Going To Hospitals Based On Medicare Billings, Not COVID-19

Probably few hospital systems need the emergency federal grants announced this week to handle the coronavirus crisis as badly as Florida’s Jackson Health does.

Miami, its base of operations, is the worst COVID-19 hot spot in one of the most severely hit states. Even in normal years, the system sometimes barely makes money. At least two of its staff members have died of the virus.

But in a scathing letter to policymakers, system CEO Carlos Migoya said the way Washington has handled the bailout “could jeopardize the very existence” of Jackson, one of the nation’s largest public health systems, and similar hospital groups.

“We are here for you right now,” Migoya, who has tested positive for COVID-19 himself, said in a Thursday letter to Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services. “Please, be here for us right now.”

Migoya and executives at other beleaguered systems are blasting the government’s

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