CHICAGO (CBS) — Many hospitals are struggling financially right now, and in some cases, jobs are on the line.
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Hospitals are making commitments to their front-line COVID-19 workers. But the sector in general is racking up major losses because elective surgeries and non-essential doctors visits are on hold.
Billions from Washington D.C. may still not be enough to avoid cuts in the future.
NorthShore Univeristy Healthsystem entered the coronavirus economic crisis fiscally sound, and yet…
“All the money we made in the first months of the year disappeared in two weeks in March,” said Sean O’Grady of Northshore University Health System
Elective surgeries and procedures were called off by the state and patients canceled routine appointments.
“The federal aid is a lifeline to us all,” O’Grady said.
In the first wave of the CARES Act, $100 billion was earmarked to help hospitals, another $75 billion has been approved by the Senate. But NorthShore estimates by the time it receives its share, the funds may cover only a third of their losses.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Cooler Than Normal
“Frankly it’s a drop in the bucket relative to the impact this crisis is having on hospitals around the country,” O’Grady said.
Mike Allen overseas finance for OSF Healthcare, which runs a small 97 bed hospital in Ottawa.
“What we see in rural areas is a disruption to our revenue completely,” Allen said. “For small rural hospitals it really is a lifeline.”
Revenue is down by as much as 50%, OSF has also made staff and payroll cuts. But in rural areas, the hospital is often the areas biggest employer and there’s a domino effect.
“As it has an impact on the hospital, it has an impact on the viability of the entire community,” Allen added.
Only about one-third of the original funding has been distributed, based on medicare services. The other two-thirds will include allowances for COVID-19 response.
How the next round of funding will be distributed is unclear, and hospitals are bracing for more tough times ahead.
“There is no way around having to make difficult decisions,” O’Grady said.MORE NEWS: 2 Dogs Killed, 7 People Left Homeless After Waukegan Fire
Hospitals are busy right now calculating their COVID-19 expenses due this week. It will help them qualify for federal aid from the original CARES Act. At the same time, they are adding up how to cope financially when that money eventually runs out.