Coronavirus Will Test the Limits of Our Hospitals
The Coronavirus pandemic has exposed financial weaknesses within the American healthcare system.
Many hospitals will be overpopulated and will not have the necessary infrastructure to care for this massive inflow of patients.
In order to care for the thousands of coronavirus patients, hospitals not only need an increased supply of ventilators and personal protective equipment, but also an injection of cash to pay the extra staff that will be needed to care for these patients.
Many hospitals are running low on funds and have stated that without immediate funding they will be forced to close. These hospitals will be hurt by the many patients who do not have health insurance and are thus unable to pay their hospital bills.
These problems highlight how unprepared the American healthcare system was to handle a pandemic of this scale and that there is a need for better practice management which can be provided by healthcare analytics software. While this software cannot solve every issue facing the American healthcare system, it can help ease some of the pain that the coronavirus pandemic has caused for American healthcare practices.
There are 26 million Americans without health insurance while another 60 million Americans have high-deductible plans that can leave them with large fees if they visit a hospital. That adds up to 86 million Americans or 26% of the American population who are at risk of being saddled with a large medical bill should they contract the Coronavirus.
How many of them will be able to pay back the hospital that cared for them? How much of that debt can our hospital system afford to bear?
With the C.D.C.’s models predicting perhaps 2.4 to 21 million total hospitalizations based on a wide range of scenarios, this could leave anywhere from 624,000 to 5.46 million hospitalized Americans who would face large hospital bills (assuming 26% of those hospitalized either do not have healthcare insurance or have a high-deductible plan).
This number also does not account for the increasing number of unemployed Americans who will lose the health insurance they previously received from their employers.
With the treatment for coronavirus costing anywhere from approximately $10,000 to $20,000 or much more, depending on the severity, hundreds of thousands and potentially even millions of Americans will have large amounts of debt that they are unable to pay. With many Americans unable to pay their hospital bills, the cash-strapped healthcare industry will only suffer more as they will not receive compensation for many of the services they provide.
Hospitals will require increased funds to expand their capacity and also to support the thousands of ventilators needed to care for the most severe cases of Coronavirus.
But, American hospitals are already in dire need of increased funding. One case, the Easton Hospital in Wilson, PA stated that it needs $40 million to stay open during the crisis due to financial problems.
While a $100 billion influx of cash as a result of the federal coronavirus package should help alleviate these financing issues, more efficient practice management could also ease the healthcare system’s financial struggles.
Written by Benjamin Stick & Edited by Alexander Fleiss