Oct 25, 2021 - Health

Study reveals disparities in hospitals' COVID funds

Illustration of a wallet with hundred-dollar bills inside it, and a syringe being stuck into it.

Hospitals that received the most federal coronavirus relief money were disproportionately academic-affiliated and had higher pre-pandemic assets, according to a new study published in JAMA Health Forum.

Yes, but: Those hospitals were also more likely to have had higher numbers of COVID cases.

Why it matters: The money was intended to keep hospitals afloat as they managed an onslaught of coronavirus patients while performing fewer elective procedures, which tend to be more lucrative. 

What they found: Critical access hospitals generally received less financial assistance, at least through the end of October 2020.

  • Hospitals received an average of $33.6 million in federal relief funding.
  • But among the more than 900 hospitals included in the study, nearly 8% received more than $50 million.

The bottom line: "This disparity in funding may be of particular interest because many critical access and rural hospitals faced financial pressures even before the COVID-19 pandemic," the authors write.

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