The Look in Brief

Tennessee hospitals losing $1 billion each month

By: - June 4, 2020 6:00 am
(Photo: Susan J. Demas, Michigan Advance)

(Photo: Susan J. Demas, Michigan Advance)

Tennessee’s hospitals are collectively losing $1 billion each month, for a projected total of about $3.5 billion since the pandemic began, Wendy Long, president and CEO of the Tennessee Hospital Association told lawmakers Wednesday. 

While federal and state funding and grants have begun to flow to the state’s hospitals, there remains a “significant financial deficit,” Long testified before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

The infusion of aid is expected to cover just 20 percent of all hospital losses through the end of June, she said. 

“The bad news is that Tennessee hospitals experienced a devastating drop in revenue from the loss of elective procedures as well as patients choosing to forgo care,” she said.

Dr. Wendy Long, president, Tennessee Hospital Association (Photo: THA)
Dr. Wendy Long, president, Tennessee Hospital Association (Photo: THA)

At the same time, hospitals incurred higher costs for personal protective equipment. Hospitals that treat COVID-19 patients, who often have extremely long stays, may also have to absorb losses from the cost of care, she said. 

Facilities are expected to see increased costs through the end of the year, an expense that could rise sharply if cases increase or a major second wave of the virus returns in the fall or winter. 

Hospitals have asked for an additional $57 million in state aide, Long said. 

Long also said the state has received 4,880 vials of remdesivir, a drug thought to shorten the intensity and duration of COVID-19. Vanderbilt University Medical Center serves as a distribution hub of the drug for other hospitals. The supply is enough to treat approximately 600 patients.


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Anita Wadhwani
Anita Wadhwani

Anita Wadhwani is a senior reporter for the Tennessee Lookout. The Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media (TAPME) named her Journalist of the Year in 2019 as well as giving her the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Journalism. Wadhwani is formerly an investigative reporter with The Tennessean who focused on the impact of public policies on the people and places across Tennessee.