Deferring procedures and surgeries at children’s hospitals has resulted in significant revenue losses. And overall use of personal protective equipment has increased for children’s hospitals due to the augmented testing of patients, families and staff to protect the most fragile children who remain hospitalized — driving up operating costs.
Operating losses are totaling upwards of $2 billion monthly across the nation’s children’s hospitals, according to an analysis conducted by the Children’s Hospital Association. Since the onset of the pandemic surge planning, children’s hospitals have experienced revenue losses of up to 50% and cost increases of 10% or more. The typical children’s hospital is losing about $1 million every day.
Children’s hospitals are the go-to providers for the treatment of children diagnosed with pediatric cancer, cardiac disorders, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis and other medically complex conditions. These conditions are often accompanied by mental health needs, which children’s hospitals and their pediatric communities are uniquely positioned to meet. As academic hubs of pediatric training and research discovery, children’s hospitals contribute to the health and wellbeing of every child in the United States. Their abilities to fulfill their missions are vital to the future health of our country.
As children’s hospitals engage in ongoing work with federal, state and local officials to address the coronavirus, it’s essential they have the support to continue executing the mission they’ve been entrusted — caring for our nation’s kids.
In March, Moody’s Investor Services changed its outlook for nonprofit hospitals from stable to negative because of how the coronavirus outbreak is expected to affect cash flow. As nonprofit, charitable entities, many children’s hospitals don’t have a lot of money in the bank and are a breakeven operation on a good day, even as some others are able to plug the losses in the short term.
Tragically, many people and businesses across the country continue to experience financial hardship because of this crisis and must be supported. Children’s hospitals and their dedicated pediatric staffs engaging in the coronavirus response require ongoing relief funding, too. While coronavirus is more immediately threatening to adults and we must prioritize caring for these patients, children are not immune. They must have their essential physical and behavioral health care needs met. If we want to prevent any long-term harm to the health of our kids, we must not overlook the children’s hospitals and pediatricians who care for them during this time.