Health Affairs March 24, 2023
Christopher M. Whaley, Sebahattin Demirkan, Ge Bai

Hospitals played, and continue to play, a vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospital resiliency is critical for the sustained success of the US health care system and its ability to both provide care for millions of patients and navigate potential future pandemics.

The pandemic strained many hospitals’ financial resources. They were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Even among hospitals with fewer COVID-19 patients, supply costs for critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and labor costs for nurses and other staff increased. In addition, patient volume decreased due to canceled and deferred elective procedures, hurting operational performance. To relieve hospitals of financial strain, federal policymakers provided financial assistance to hospitals, including CARES Act funding, advance Medicare payments, and disaster relief payments from...

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