AHA Congressional Webinar Highlights Perspectives from Pandemic’s Front Lines

February 14, 2022

On February 10, the American Hospital Association (AHA) sponsored “Hospitals and Health Systems Stretched to Their Limits in 2022: Perspectives from the Front Lines.” The webinar for Congressional staff highlighted key challenges facing hospitals during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and short- and long-term solutions to address the crisis. LaRay Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer of One Brooklyn Health System and Chair of the GNYHA Board of Governors, presented at the webinar.

AHA Senior Associate Director of Federal Relations Aimee Kuhlman said that Congress and the Biden Administration need to do more to help the nation’s hospitals, which are confronting significant financial and operational pressures while continuing to care for their communities. She noted that hospitals’ key priorities—including urging Congress to reform the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program and provide an additional $25 billion for the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), relief from the upcoming 2% Medicare sequestration cuts, flexibility for 340B hospitals, and assistance with workforce issues—were highlighted in a recent AHA letter to Congressional leaders.

Ms. Brown said that One Brooklyn Health’s safety net hospital Interfaith Medical Center’s financial circumstances were not stable prior to COVID-19. The hospital has suspended non-emergent procedures while funding vaccination pods, costs associated with COVID-19 screenings for visitors and vendors, and installation of monoclonal antibody infusion systems to be responsive to the community and staff. One Brooklyn Health has also needed to hire travel nurses whose pay rates have significantly increased since the initial COVID-19 surge. She said PRF payments would be extremely helpful given the current financial pressures on hospitals. 

Ascension Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Craig Cordola and Lori Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, Pasadena, California-based Huntington Hospital, also discussed their institutions’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GNYHA strongly supports providing additional Federal relief for hospitals and other health care providers in supplemental pandemic response legislation. We have requested that Congress allow providers more time to repay Accelerated and Advance Medicare payments, extend the moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequestration cuts, and add $25 billion to the PRF. GNYHA highlighted Ms. Brown’s participation in the AHA webinar in a tweet.