COVID-19 expected to drive continued hospital losses throughout 2021

America’s hospitals face significant, ongoing financial instability as the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to fester. With cases and hospitalizations at high levels in the wake of the rapid spread of the Delta variant, mostly among the unvaccinated, physicians, nurses, and other hospital personnel are working tirelessly to care for COVID-19 patients. At the same time, hospitals are experiencing profound net income losses that likely will continue throughout the rest of 2021.

Kaufman Hall projects hospitals nationwide will lose an estimated $54 billion in net income over the course of the year, even taking into account federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding from last year.

Our latest analyses examine actual performance in the first and second quarters of this year, and projections for the remainder of 2021. According to our estimates, more than a third of U.S. hospitals will maintain negative operating margins through year’s end. However, the uncertain trajectory of the Delta and Mu variants in the U.S. this fall could result in even greater losses.

These latest findings reaffirm the results discussed in Kaufman Hall’s March report


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