This letter to the editor was sent to Modern Healthcare in response to March 11 article, "Hospitals posted higher profits in second half of 2020 even as COVID cases soared."
Children's hospitals have not recovered to pre-pandemic levels
It's important to note while the broader U.S. hospital industry appears to have exceeded their 2019 financial results over the course of the second half of 2020, this is not the case with the nation's children's hospitals.
Children's hospitals suffered the same clinical volume impact as the hospitals focused on adult care in the opening months of the pandemic last year. However, unlike hospitals focused on adult care, children's hospitals were not occupied with adult COVID-19 patients, nor did children's hospitals receive any material "hot spot" relief from HHS, nor benefit from Medicare-based relief such as the sequester deferral supporting Medicare revenues across the provider sectors caring for senior adults.
While volume improved and financial losses lessened over the second half of 2020, children's hospitals did not fully recover and the overall pediatric sector fared worse compared to 2019. Federal relief helped these shortfalls but did not offset the negative revenue variances which continued into early 2021.
Because of its impact on children's hospitals, the pandemic has weakened the national safety net for children. Additional financial relief by the federal government targeted to high-Medicaid providers including children's hospitals and pediatricians is sorely needed.
CEO, Children's Hospital Association