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Mon May 25, 2020, 07:06 AM

Wealthiest Hospitals Got Billions in Bailout for Struggling Health Providers

Twenty large chains received more than $5 billion in federal grants even while sitting on more than $100 billion in cash.

...With states restricting hospitals from performing elective surgery and other nonessential services, their revenue has shriveled. The Department of Health and Human Services has disbursed $72 billion in grants since April to hospitals and other health care providers through the bailout program, which was part of the CARES Act economic stimulus package. The department plans to eventually distribute more than $100 billion more.

So far, the riches are flowing in large part to hospitals that had already built up deep financial reserves to help them withstand an economic storm. Smaller, poorer hospitals are receiving tiny amounts of federal aid by comparison.

... After the CARES Act was passed in March, hospital industry lobbyists reached out to senior Health and Human Services officials to discuss how the money would be distributed.
Representatives of the American Hospital Association, a lobbying group for the country’s largest hospitals, communicated with Alex M. Azar II, the department secretary, and Eric Hargan, the deputy secretary overseeing the funds, said Tom Nickels, a lobbyist for the group. Chip Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, which lobbies on behalf of for-profit hospitals, said he, too, had frequent discussions with the agency.

The department then devised formulas to quickly dispense tens of billions of dollars to thousands of hospitals — and those formulas favored large, wealthy institutions.

In a letter this month to the Department of Health and Human Services, two House committee chairmen said the Trump administration appeared to be disregarding Congress’s intent in how it was distributing the aid. “The level of funding appears to be completely disconnected from need,” wrote the two Democrats, Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey and Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts.

More at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/business/hospitals-bailout-billions.html?
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