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Government aid for not-for-profit health systems doubles amid COVID-19 pandemic

State and federal funding for hospitals and health systems has doubled over the past two years compared with historical averages as the government supplanted revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government support, which includes non-operating revenue like COVID-19 relief grants and disproportionate-share hospital payments, was 143{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4} higher for large systems in 2021 and 2020 compared with the two-year trailing median, according to data analysis from Merritt Research Services. Medium and small systems received 128.1{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4} and 167.5{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4} more aid over the past two years, respectively, Merritt’s analysis of about 170 not-for-profit health systems’ annual financial statements found.

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Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health, for instance, received $505 million in government aid in 2021 and $459 million in 2020, up from $244 million in 2019 and $271 million in 2018.

The Biden administration doled out more Provider Relief Funds in January, targeting smaller providers and Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicare providers. But allocations, which aim to offset pandemic-related losses that in part stem from the decline in non-urgent procedures, have varied based on providers’ size and location.

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