AHA report: Hospitals battle cost surge along with COVID-19 and Medicare payment cuts
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals have experienced surging costs for labor, drugs, supplies, equipment and other resources required to care for patients, according to a new AHA report. Among other findings, between 2019 and 2021, labor expenses per patient rose 19.1%, with travel nurse costs surging to a median 39% of nurse labor expenses by January 2022. Supply costs rose 21% per patient overall, with median drug costs up 37% per patient and intensive care unit medical supply costs up 32% per patient.
“America’s hospitals and health systems, and our caregivers, have been on the front lines in fighting the pandemic for over two years now, facing numerous challenges along the way,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “While we have made great progress in the fight against the virus, this report shows that we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to addressing the need to repair and rebuild our hospitals. The dramatic rise in costs of labor, drugs, supplies and equipment continue to put enormous pressure on our ability to provide care to our patients and communities. The pandemic has clearly demonstrated that America cannot be strong without its hospitals and health systems being strong. We continue to urge Congress to provide additional support to address these challenges, including by reversing harmful Medicare cuts, replenishing the Provider Relief Fund, granting flexibility on accelerated and advance Medicare repayments, and extending or making permanent critical waivers that have improved patient care.”