In a letter
to U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, MHA President & CEO Steve Walsh thanked HHS for recent COVID-19 funding, but added the methodologies the administration has used to date in parceling out the funds “have failed to recognize the full effect of COVID-19 challenges experienced in Massachusetts and has left too many of our hospitals without needed relief."
Walsh detailed how HHS’s “high-impact allocation formula” was not equitable “and failed its intended goal to aid the facilities most affected by the surge of COVID-19 patients, a significant number of which are in Massachusetts.” Because the pandemic surge hit differing parts of the country at different times, and the length of the surge varied by location, the HHS formula came up short, Walsh wrote. “For example, Massachusetts reached its peak after the April 10 cut-off used in the ‘high impact allocation’ and experienced a prolonged plateau thereafter. On April 10, our state reported 20,973 COVID-19 cases and since then more than 58,359 new cases have occurred as of May 12. During the approximately one-month period following the April 10 mark, this increase represents the fourth largest in the country whether measured on a straight count or per capita basis.”
MHA called on Azar to ensure the second “high-impact allocation” uses a methodology that “prioritizes hospitals that have not yet received hot-spot funds and are located in states with a high percent of COVID-19 cases. This targeted approach will more equitably reflect the financial plight of the hospitals most affected over the past two months by the triaging and caring for coronavirus patients.”