Financial help may be on the way for Alabama hospitals, nursing homes
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama lawmakers go back into special session later this week. One of their top agendas is to appropriate money to help out state hospitals and nursing homes. These are federal funds coming out of the American Rescue Plan Act. The lawmakers will be looking to appropriate about $80 million for hospitals and nursing homes hit hard by the pandemic.
Some Alabama hospitals were already looking at money problems even before the coronavirus hit. After COVID, they are facing staffing costs, drug costs and equipment costs. Nursing homes are much of the same. Many had to adapt their facilities to deal with the contagious virus.
The Alabama Hospital Association reported in September some $200 million dollars in costs. It’s expected hospitals and nursing homes will split the $80 million dollars. While both say the money is appreciated and will help to a degree, a lot more funds will be needed. The legislature will return next year and is expected to appropriate even more funds out of the federal plan.
Dr. Don Williamson with the Hospital Association said more than 80 percent of state hospitals were losing money. Some did have to borrow money to make payroll during the pandemic. “Once we get through COVID, we do see some hospitals that were in financial jeopardy prior to COVID not to be able to weather the next year or two after COVID,” Williamson said.
Alabama nursing homes are also appreciative of the funding. “We are making a lot of progress, but we are still feeling a lot of effects. We have a lot of staffing pressures. There are work shortages in every sector in Alabama - we are experiencing that too,” John Matson with the Alabama Nursing Home Association said.
Williamson said state hospitals are in worse shape now than they were before COVID. Williamson added additional funds will help to keep some hospitals from closing their doors at least until the regular session next year. Rural hospitals are the ones feeling the most heat.
Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.