U.S. Congressmen Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) and Bill Johnson (OH-6) sent a letter alongside 89 of their colleagues today urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to direct additional funds for children’s hospitals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic began in March, children’s hospitals have played an essential role in fighting COVID-19 by providing testing services, stockpiling personal protective equipment, cancelling non-essential services, and transforming their facilities to care for children and adult COVID patients. As a result, America’s children’s hospitals have been significantly impacted financially and experienced declines in revenue upwards aof 40 percent.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our children’s hospitals have courageously served families in need and played an integral role in slowing the spread of the virus. Thanks to their lifesaving care and groundbreaking research, they’ve ensured every child’s physical and behavioral health needs are met. If we want our kids to continue to grow and develop, it is critical that our children’s hospitals have the funding and resources they need.” said Congressman Gonzalez.
“I’m glad to join Rep. Gonzalez in leading this letter that lays out the urgent need for additional funding for children’s hospitals from the remaining provider relief funding already appropriated by Congress. They did everything asked under state and federal guidance, and thus saw major declines in revenue due to the pandemic. Now, we owe it to these critical hospitals to provide them the resources they need as they continue caring for the most vulnerable among us,” said Congressman Johnson.
On behalf of the nearly 3 million Ohio children that we serve and their families, as well as the 40,000 Ohioans we employ, the leadership of the six members of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association are grateful to the members of Congress who understand the important role our hospitals have played to protect our state from a catastrophic surge during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful that these members are working to help mitigate some of the resulting negative financial implications on our institutions,” said Nick Lashutka, President & CEO of Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. “We appreciate their willingness to address how these unintended yet damaging consequences have impacted our ability to fulfill our mission.”
“Akron Children’s Hospital is grateful to Representatives Anthony Gonzales and Bill Johnson for their support of our hospital and all pediatric hospitals across the country that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They understand the unique situation of children’s hospitals as we have worked in conjunction with our adult health care partners to expand capacity to care for COVID-19 patients while incurring similar revenue losses and increased costs. As a not-for-profit, community-governed pediatric health care system serving a majority share of Medicaid patients, our ability to continue providing vital services to children and families is jeopardized by the allocation of financial relief that has largely excluded pediatric hospitals. We appreciate Rep. Gonzalez and Johnson’s efforts to provide more equitable relief funding for the hospitals that are dedicated to caring for our country’s children,” said Grace Wakulchik, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital.
Under the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, Congress has directed a total of $175 billion for provider relief through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF). While HHS has moved quickly to distribute these funds and targeted allocations towards unique and vulnerable providers, more assistance is needed for children’s hospitals. The letter requests HHS to provide children’s hospitals with an additional allocation out of the remaining provider relief funds already appropriated by Congress to ensure the continued safety of America’s children, families, and communities. Read the full text of the letter here.