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N.H. Hospitals Say They Need More COVID-19 Relief Money From State

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Hospitals in New Hampshire say without more money from the state to offset huge losses from responding to the coronavirus they could be in serious financial trouble within the next few months.

Steve Ahnen with the New Hampshire Hospital Association told the Legislative Advisory Board of the Governor’s Office For Emergency Relief and Recovery on Wednesday that hospitals in the state have lost more than $530 million in revenue since March.

“There's no question that hospitals will need significant financial support over the coming months,” said Ahnen. “Absent that support we're going to have some real significant challenges.”

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Ahnen says state and federal grants delivered to hospitals in New Hampshire so far have only made up for about half of the total shortfall.

That assistance includes Tuesday’s announcement by Governor Sununu that $25 million in CARES Act funding would be awarded to eight hospitals in southern New Hampshire that have cared for the majority of COVID-19 patients in the state.

Credit New Hampshire Hospital Association
A slide prepared by the New Hampshire Hospital Association for lawmakers on Wednesday.

Ahnen says hospitals aren't expected to get back to full capacity until sometime next year, and that they're likely to miss out on hundreds of millions more in revenue over the next several months.

“Losses that certainly are simply unsustainable and certainly need help to support us to get us through,” he said.

Ahnen did not give a specific amount of relief being sought by hospitals when asked by state lawmakers.

The advisory council ultimately decided to postpone any recommendations for further state assistance until more is known about a potential second round of federal relief.

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