More pandemic emergency funds needed for children’s hospitals, says Gardner

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) joined a bipartisan group of senators in seeking additional emergency federal funding to help America’s children’s hospitals struggling to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are very concerned that a disproportionately low amount of this funding [from the Provider Relief Fund] has been distributed to children’s hospitals,” wrote Sen. Gardner and several of his U.S. Senate colleagues in a June 26 letter sent to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. “We respectfully request that HHS move to quickly provide additional funding for children’s hospitals.”

While COVID-19 has not affected nearly the number of children as adults, Sen. Gardner and the other lawmakers pointed out that there are reasons to consider this additional funding.

“Despite differences in children and adults, children’s hospitals have been impacted financially with significant loss of revenue,” according to their letter. “Many children’s hospitals have had to resort to furloughs and lay-offs at a time when they are also preparing for possible increases in COVID-19 patients or more complex cases as a result of deferred care.”

Further, they wrote, children’s hospitals provide services to a large Medicaid population, with more than half of their patients being covered by the program.

Additionally, since the pandemic hit stateside earlier this year, many of these hospitals have been forced to halt critical elective procedures, while also increasing expenditures in anticipation of a possible surge this fall in new novel coronavirus patients, according to their letter.

Sen. Gardner and his colleagues also noted that caring for children is not the same as caring for adults, making children’s hospitals unique institutions. “Care for children requires highly specialized expert knowledge about health and disease at all stages of child development,” they wrote.

Among the members who joined Sen. Gardner in signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Rob Portman (R-OH), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).


By: Ripon Advance News Service

Ripon Advance