Florida hospitals lost nearly $4B through end of June due to COVID-19: industry report

The COVID-19 pandemic cost Florida’s hospitals an estimated $3.8 billion in financial losses through the end of June, a new report from the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) found.

The report, released Friday, also accounted for federal relief funds that were intended to help providers weather the financial crisis caused by COVID-19. The association said more funding is needed to help ensure the state’s hospitals are ready for a second surge of COVID-19.

“These losses are reflected in every aspect of hospital operations, from emergency response to routine healthcare,” said Crystal Stickle, the association’s interim president, in a statement.

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She said hospitals have faced increased staffing costs, lost revenue from delayed elective procedures and higher costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), testing supplies and vital drugs such as remdesivir.

The association estimates that the losses for hospitals will balloon to $7.4 billion from March through August.

The report comes as the region has seen an explosion of COVID-19 cases over the past two months.

The FHA estimates federal funding from the $175 billion provider relief fund passed alongside the CARES will amount to $3 billion through August, but total estimated losses through this month for the state’s hospitals will be $11 billion.

“Federal relief is insufficient and not aligned with losses,” the report said.

The association noted that Florida hospitals were fighting to meet uncompensated care costs even before the pandemic hit.

“Even before COVID-19, Florida's hospitals had more than $3 billion in uncompensated care costs,” the association said in a release. “That burden will only increase as hospitals keep their promise to deliver essential medical care to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay.”

Association leaders also worry that increased costs for staff and PPE are going to persist even as cases of the virus go down.

“All this occurs while pre-COVID levels of healthcare use have not returned,” the association said. “Although hospitals are safe and ready to care for all Floridians, many unfortunately continue to delay needed care, from vaccines to cancer screenings.”

The report comes as the hospital industry has pressed Congress to approve more federal funding to prop up providers and help them weather the financial crisis.

A separate estimate from the American Hospital Association projects facilities will in total lose $323 billion by the end of this year.