Empty hospitals set to furlough workers after canceling profitable procedures due to coronavirus

(USA Features) As the coronavirus spread across the country, hospitals began discharging patients and canceling elective surgeries in order to prepare for an onslaught of patients.

Only, for the vast majority of hospitals, the onslaught never came — and now seems far less likely that it will come.

As such, hospitals are now being forced to furlough staff and lay-off workers after losing untold tens of millions in otherwise profitable procedures.

Hospitals in states where coronavirus cases are few are being hardest hit, but even in larger states like Florida, hospitals are hemorrhaging money and seeking relief.

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida has warned Gov. Ron DeSantis that hospitals are short on operating cash, with the group recommending that he shift $70 million of the of the $1.6 billion Florida will receive in increased Medicaid funds be earmarked to remedy hospital revenue shortfalls, the Washington Examiner reported.

“Keep in mind hospitals are businesses, just like restaurants and cruise lines, and have seen marked reductions in revenue due to precipitous drops in non-COVID patient care and elective procedures,” Safety Net Hospital Alliance President Lindy Kennedy wrote in a letter to DeSantis, which also was sent to Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Mary Mayhew.

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“We, too, are struggling to make difficult choices regarding staff furloughs, clinic operating hours, etc.,” Kennedy wrote.

The news site reported further that under the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which followed the Families First Act, “Florida health-care providers and hospitals also can tap into a $130 billion fund for hospitals and community health centers and $100 billion to reimburse providers for COVID-19 expenses and lost revenue.”

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