According to a study released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the share of U.S. residents with COVID-19 antibodies increased from 34 percent in December 2021 to 58 percent in February 2022. We’ve seen modest increases in COVID-19 transmission in recent weeks; fortunately, however, it has not translated into a spike in hospitalizations. This increased transmission is driven by the BA.2 subvariant, which currently represents over 80 percent of cases here in Los Angeles County. While hospitals remain girded for potential surges, the lull in hospitalizations provides much-needed reprieve from the last two years of volatility.
While our caregivers are seeing fewer COVID-19 patients coming through their hospital doors, our administrators continue to grapple with the significant impact the pandemic has inflicted on their balance sheets. Last week CHA released a Kaufman Hall analysis that measures the financial health of California’s hospitals in 2021. According to the report, in 2021, 51 percent of the state’s hospitals had negative margins, and 55 percent had unsustainable margins. While they incurred losses and relief was scarce, hospitals’ expenses rose 15 percent, compared with 11 percent nationally.
As local decisionmakers look to hospitals to apply misdirected mandates and ordinances, it’s imperative that we continue underscoring the financial and human tolls that hospitals endured. And as COVID-19 fades out of the forefront of the collective consciousness, HASC will continue to remind policymakers and others of the role hospitals have played, and continue to play, day in and day out.
On a brighter note, I’m pleased to share that The Path Forward, HASC’s 2022 Annual Meeting, is nearly booked to capacity, and we’ve far exceeded our expectations for our first in-person meeting in three years. I’d like to express gratitude for our extraordinary speakers, sponsors, staff and – equally vital – our valued members. Without their enthusiasm and participation, our Annual Meeting would not be possible. I look forward to the renewed fellowship this meeting will facilitate, and I can’t wait to see you there!
Take care and stay safe.
George W. Greene, Esq.