Arizona hospitals near ‘financial extinction’ from limits to prep for COVID-19

Posted at 10:07 AM, Apr 17, 2020

Arizona hospitals are facing “dire financial consequences” and furloughing staff, as cutbacks meant to prepare for COVID-19 cases have instead cost them as much as $575 million a month, about 30-40% of normal revenues statewide.

The cancellation of elective procedures meant to free up beds for potential coronavirus patients, combined with a drop in emergency room visits, has deprived hospitals of the “cash cows” they need to stay afloat in an industry that otherwise has margins of only 3-4%, advocates said.

The result is health care centers in financial distress, at risk of closing or reducing staff, said Dr. Daniel Derksen, director of the Arizona Center for Rural Health at the University of Arizona.

“If you don’t have the revenues to support paying your nurses and physicians and staff and transport, lab, imaging, X-rays, those types of things, it creates just an untenable situation,” Derksen said.

Read more from the Phoenix Business Journal.