MHA: rural hospitals in critical need of stimulus funds
Rural hospitals, already going through financial struggles before COVID-19, are facing severe financial setbacks and are asking for immediate help.
Dave Dillon, spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association, says the spreading outbreak is creating a nightmare scenario for many rural hospitals, “We’re starting to hear that the days of cash on hand for many rural hospitals are becoming critical, without the ability to pay staff which is about 50% of the cost of running the hospital.”
Rural hospitals depend more heavily on elective, outpatient procedures than urban hospitals but those have been cancelled for social distancing prevention measures. Dillon says, “Hospitals are losing huge chunks of their revenue at the same time as they’re trying to gear up and to maintain staff so that they can address any patients in their communities that have COVID.”
Missouri’s U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley helped get emergency funding for rural hospitals in the CARES stimulus bill, and Dillon says they’re trying to get the money released, “They are asking HHS to quickly deliver the resources that are available. That is absolutely critical at this point.”
Dillon says those funds will help in the short term but many rural hospitals are weeks and even days from not having funds to operate. He says rural hospitals are not set up for acute care of patients with serious complications from COVID-19 and to expect those patients to be transferred to urban hospitals.
The CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association has asked Governor Parson to put a stay-in-place order in effect in Missouri to slow the spread of COVID-19.