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Coronavirus: Hospitals with huge reserves got government bailouts and laid off thousands of workers

Written by Diane Archer

The New York Times reports that some of the wealthiest hospitals in the US received huge amounts of stimulus money even though they are holding literally tens of billions of dollars in reserves. And, then they laid off thousands of workers, while paying their CEOs millions of dollars.

Scores of hospitals and hospital chains continue to pay tens of millions of dollars to their CEOs, while cutting pay to their nurses, janitors and other frontline employees. Many staff are being furloughed as well.

Seven hospital chains received $1.5 billion in stimulus money. Yet, they furloughed 30,000 workers. These chains include Trinity Health, Beaumont Health and the Henry Ford Health System. They did not even need to apply for the money they received.

The government money they received had few strings attached. It cannot be used for the salaries of hospital executives. But, it does not stop hospitals from paying their executives high salaries and bonuses. No information is yet available on salaries and bonuses of executive staff in 2020.

HCA, a for-profit hospital that has earned more than $7 billion in profits in the last two years, received $1 billion in stimulus dollars–our tax dollars. Yet, it seems it is not using those dollars as they were intended to be used. Workers there say the hospital expected them to care for COVID-19 patients without the personal protective gear they needed.

The HCA hospital is threatening to lay off workers. It is freezing nurses’ wages. And, it appears to be paying its CEO lavishly. Last year, its CEO received $26 million.

Tenet Healthcare received $345 million in stimulus funds. It has furloughed 11,000 hospital staff because of the pandemic.

Food for thought: The government formula for providing stimulus dollars to hospitals favors hospitals with the greatest revenues. And, it discriminates against hospitals serving poorer communities.

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