Mar 21, 2020 - Health

Hospitals are asking for a federal bailout ASAP due to coronavirus

A nurse stands in a hospital hallway with equipment scattered around.
A rural hospital in Washington state earlier this month. Photo: Nick Otto/Washington Post via Getty Images

Hospital executives are urging the federal government to approve a cash influx as soon as possible, because many fear the coronavirus outbreak will force them to miss payroll and potentially shutter their doors.

What they're saying: "If we don't get some assistance in the next two weeks, we will have to begin to have a conversation ... that we will no longer to be able to be in business, and that we will have to close the hospital," J. Scott Graham, CEO of Three Rivers Hospital and North Valley Hospital in Washington state, told reporters Saturday.

Where it stands: The American Hospital Association is asking the federal government for a $100 billion bailout, as well as a waiver of the 2% Medicare cuts that were mandated through sequestration in 2013.

  • Congress is working again today to figure out what a final package for hospitals could look like.
  • But it's unclear if rural and safety net hospitals that are most in need of cash would get most of the bailout funds. Tom Nickels, a top lobbyist with the AHA, said federal aid could be pooled into a common stabilization fund for all hospitals.

Go deeper: Coronavirus threatens rural hospitals, from Kaiser Health News

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