In 2020, COVID-19 undermined our nation’s health and severely tested our hospitals and health systems. At the same time that a series of spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations put intense pressure on hospital staff and resources, steep declines in non-COVID-19 volume led to sharply lower revenues.

A new Kaufman Hall analysis forecasts hospital revenue in 2021 – a critical criterion in determining the financial health of American hospitals. The analysis uses historical hospital revenues and different paths for three interconnected factors:

  • Recovery of hospital volumes
  • COVID-19 vaccine progress
  • Decline in COVID-19 cases

The report presents two scenarios related to these factors – one more optimistic and one more pessimistic. Both scenarios are realistic, and both show a significant revenue loss compared with what would be expected absent the effect of COVID-19. The report also shows expense factors associated with COVID-19 likely to continue to pressure hospital finances as the pandemic continues.

This report was prepared at the request of the American Hospital Association.

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