Urban Hospitals of Last Resort Cling to Life in Time of COVID

September 23, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified September 24, 2020

While rural hospitals have been closing at a fast pace over the past two decades, a number of inner-city hospitals now face a similar fate. This article published by Medscape explains how experts fear that the economic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic on safety-net hospitals and the ailing finances of the cities and states that subsidize them are pushing some urban hospitals over the edge.

By the nature of their mission, safety-net hospitals, wherever they are, struggle because they treat a large share of patients who are uninsured — and can’t pay bills — or are covered by Medicaid, whose payments don’t cover costs. But metropolitan hospitals confront additional threats beyond what rural hospitals do. State-of-the-art hospitals in affluent city neighborhoods are luring more of the safety-net hospitals’ best-insured patients. These combined financial pressures have been exacerbated by the pandemic at a time their role has become more important: Their core patients — the poor and people of color — have been disproportionately stricken by COVID-19 in metropolitan regions.

“We’ve had three hospital closures in the last year or so, all of them Black neighborhoods,” said Dr. David Ansell, senior vice president for community health equity at Rush University Medical Center, a teaching hospital on Chicago’s West Side. He said the decision to close Mercy “is really criminal in my mind, because people will die as a result.”

Share this

Related Articles

                                Leave a Comment