Hospitals paid a high price for preparing for coronavirus : Planet Money Hospitals lost millions of dollars preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients. Some were swamped, but others only saw a handful of coronavirus cases. Now many are struggling to survive.
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Waiting For A Surge

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Waiting For A Surge

Waiting For A Surge

Waiting For A Surge

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Medical University of South Carolina
An ad that's part of the Medical University of South Carolina's COVID-19 campaign.
Medical University of South Carolina

To prepare for the coronavirus pandemic, many hospitals shut down the parts of their businesses that make the most money: elective surgeries, like hip and knee replacements; and procedures, like colonoscopies. At the same time, those hospitals had to invest in preparing for the arrival of COVID 19. They got more hospital beds set up, and spent a lot of money to buy gowns and masks and other equipment that they'd need.

Some hospitals were swamped with COVID-19 patients. Others saw only a handful. Which meant they only got a small amount of assistance from the government's emergency fund. And now, as states begin to reopen, many hospitals have to confront the fact that they are deeply in the red, and that the healthcare market may take a long time to return to normal.

Many hospitals were already running on tight margins. Now they might struggle to survive.

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