Consultants predict hospitals will continue to struggle, and more will go bankrupt until their operating margins improve by accepting more patients.
Many hospitals were already operating on thin margins before the COVID-19 pandemic. (CNBC)
Hospitals across the United States are desperately trying to ramp up volume after months where they saw far fewer patients than usual.
In March and April, many hospitals cancelled or delayed elective procedures to make space for a potential flood of Covid-19 patients. Because of that, hospitals were losing millions of dollars per day just staying open. In April, the American Hospital Association estimated that hospitals were bleeding more than $50 billion per month.
The situation is improving for many health systems now, as patients are starting to reschedule their procedures and overall volumes are increasing as the country reopens.
“We were losing $5 million per day, and now it’s just a few million,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine at UC San Francisco. Dr. Wachter expects that UCSF’s hospitals will lose $600 to $700 million this year alone.