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Northwest Hospitals Hopeful For More Federal Aid

Courtesy of Mid-Valley Hospital

Washington hospital officials are hoping Congress and the Trump Administration are able to agree on a package that includes more aid for hospitals.

Cassie Sauer from the Washington State Hospital Association says that money would supplement funds already approved by Congress.

“The federal government is allowing them to collect advance payments on Medicare, which is really helpful. But it has to be repaid at a pretty quick timeline and with substantial interest, 10% interest," Sauer said. "So it’s helping them with their immediate cash flow, but I think it has very serious repercussions in the long run if Congress doesn’t change its mind about the repayments.”

Many hospitals, especially in rural areas, are struggling because they’ve lost income from not providing non-essential medical services during the pandemic. Sauer says hospital leaders are talking with Olympia about that.

“We’re asking the governor to allow some elective and non-urgent procedures to resume, which would be really big, a huge help for hospitals because they could actually start performing services their patients need and getting paid for it," Sauer said.

Many hospitals are also hurting because their emergency room visits are have decreased.