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COVID-19 and the Financial Health of US Hospitals

JAMA.Published online May 4, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6269

The rapid growth in the number of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threatened to overwhelm hospital and intensive care unit capacity.1The pandemic also raises questions about the ability of hospitals to remain financially solvent amid unprecedented changes in care delivery and billable services. To limit the spread of disease and create additional inpatient capacity and staffing, many hospitals are closing outpatient departments and postponing or canceling elective visits and procedures. These changes, while needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially threaten the financial viability of hospitals, especially those with preexisting financial challenges and those heavily reliant on revenue from outpatient and elective services.

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