Federal payments don’t come close to covering Colorado hospitals’ COVID-19 losses

By Meg Wingerter | The Denver Post

Most Colorado health care providers received less than $4,000 in federal funds meant to partly offset their losses due to COVID-19, and even the winners who got far more say the payments haven’t come close to filling their revenue gaps.

The $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed in March included $50 billion for health care organizations, with billions more for specific groups, like rural providers or nursing homes.

Colorado received about $808 million from the general distribution, which was divided among 4,430 outpatient providers, hospitals, emergency response organizations and municipalities. The median payment was $3,940, meaning half of recipients got more and half got less.

The payments ranged from a high of $79.3 million for the University of Colorado Hospital Authority to a low of $1 for a pharmacy in Ignacio, with 27 providers getting $10 or less.

Even the larger payments didn’t fully cover revenue losses from COVID-19, though.

Dan Weaver, spokesman for UCHealth, said the health system lost about $176 million in revenue in March and April as non-emergency procedures were canceled, and could lose more if patients continue to delay care. The system has received a combined $97.5 million, but still needed to ask some employees to take time off this summer, he said. Some executives also gave up their paid vacation time.

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