NCHA Statement on Gov. Cooper’s Budget for Coronavirus Relief

Hospitals’ financial recovery from COVID-19 should be a priority

CARY, NC – The North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) issued the following statement about the coronavirus relief budget priorities proposed by Governor Roy Cooper on Friday:

“We are extremely concerned that nowhere in the Governor’s budget does he mention providing financial support for hospitals, which have taken extraordinary measures to be there for every North Carolinian during this unparalleled public health emergency. Our hospitals and their heroic staff have been there, on the front lines, fighting the pandemic for their patients and communities. They have done this while taking gut punches financially, collectively losing an estimated $1 billion per month from postponing nonessential services and procedures and spending huge sums to prepare for and respond to COVID-19, such as purchasing personal protective equipment and ventilators at excessive cost and installing telehealth capabilities. We estimate they will incur more than $3 billion in losses through May.

These losses have already forced hospitals across the state to make difficult and painful decisions – from furloughs and staff pay cuts, to borrowing money from financial lenders. Hospitals that were already financially fragile, particularly rural and independent hospitals, are now in dire straits. Federal funds have been nowhere close to sufficient to close the gap. We are thankful, however, for the bipartisan North Carolina House COVID-19 Committee on Health taking action on Thursday to pass an appropriations and policy bill that we fully support.

North Carolina hospitals have fundamentally changed their business models overnight to do only one thing, and that is fight and win over COVID-19. It is time to help restore solid financial footing for the one industry that has the moral and legal imperative to continue to care for all North Carolinians. We now call on the General Assembly to correct the Governor’s omission.”

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