Canceled surgeries, COVID-19 patients could be ‘double whammy’ for hospitals

COVID-19 could be a double whammy for hospitals’ finances in that they’re putting off high-margin surgeries to treat expensive, complex coronavirus patients with no way to predict reimbursement.

“It probably will be significant in most cases,” Chip Kahn, CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, said of the novel coronavirus’ financial impact on hospitals. “In some situations, if we’re taking about two or three months of this … you could see many hospitals with their backs to the wall.”

Prominent hospitals like New York-Presbyterian and Brigham and Women’s in Boston as well as massive health systems like Northwell Health have said they are canceling or postponing elective procedures in the coming weeks. It may be necessary in many cases to prevent a more deadly COVID-19 outbreak, but could shrink an important revenue source for providers.

Treating COVID-19 patients is expensive and unpredictable in terms of the resources required, said Kahn, whose organization represents for-profit hospital companies. He questioned whether hospitals will see adequate reimbursement from treating those patients, as some may be homeless, unable to self-isolate or uninsured. He questioned whether hospitals’ Medicare payments would offset the cost of providing treatment.

The procedure cancellations align with the U.S. surgeon general’s recommendation that hospitals stop performing elective procedures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and preserve capacity in hospital intensive-care units as well as equipment and staff.

The American Hospital Association, FAH and other groups are asking the surgeon general to clarify his directive to account for the fact that some so-called elective procedures can’t be delayed, such as cancer surgeries.

By Tara Bannow | Modern Healthcare

Image Credit: Getty Images


About Peter Coffaro 510 Articles
Peter Coffaro is a growth-driven and strategic executive with over 25 years of progressive management success in the medical device industry. With a proven track record and recognized expertise, Peter has established himself as one of the top influencers in medical sales, as acknowledged by prestigious publications such as the World Journal of Orthopedics, Exponential Healthtech, and Throughout his career, Peter has accumulated 10 years of combined sales management experience, excelling in various roles including Director, General Manager, Distributor, and Vice President. He has worked for industry-leading orthopedic companies such as Zimmer, DePuy, and Stryker, solidifying his deep knowledge and network within the field. Peter’s passion for innovation and emerging technologies led him to found OrthoFeed, an award-winning blog covering digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Through this platform, he stays at the forefront of the industry and contributes to the dissemination of valuable insights. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson, demonstrating his exceptional contributions and impact on the organization. His expertise extends to areas such as organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing, and professional education. Peter earned a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Illinois University, further complementing his comprehensive understanding of the medical field. With his wealth of experience, strategic mindset, and dedication to advancing healthcare, Peter Coffaro is a valuable asset and leader in the medical device industry.

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