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The State of COVID-19 and Children’s Hospitals

As we all continue to make our way through an awful and deadly pandemic, we decided it’s time to give you a glimpse into the state of children’s hospitals as they struggle to keep up with the pressures of COVID-19. It’s not good. Demand is greater than ever before due to the pandemic and the majority of children’s hospitals might not be able to meet their financial obligations in the next year.

Under normal conditions, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals provide care to 62 kids every minute, adding up to 10 million children every year. The US Census Bureau found in 2018 that 4.3 million kids under 19 weren’t covered by insurance and 37 million more rely on Medicaid, meaning that over 40 million kids have a need for medical care that isn’t being met. And that’s during a normal year.

More people are out of work or underemployed due to the pandemic than ever before. That has led to more people than ever before coming to CMN Hospitals seeking charitable care for their children. The gap between healthcare funding and the needs of children’s hospitals across North America has increased the need for donations and community support far beyond the $80 million USD covered by CMN Hospitals last year. We all need to work together to meet this overwhelming need.

Surveys sent out in May and June reveal that the funding needs of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals facilities exceed $820 million USD. This money is needed to equip hospitals with telehealth equipment to see patients safely, meet the increased needs of in-person patients, and provide protective gear and COVID-19 testing to both staff and patients.

Under the weight of all of these overriding needs, 78% of CMN Hospitals are falling short by more than $7.5 million USD per month. The total revenue loss experienced by children’s hospitals is expected to hit a minimum of $5.7 billion USD, roughly $67 million USD per hospital. One of the big contributors to this shortfall has been a massive reduction in elective and non-critical services to make room and free up resources for COVID-19 patients.

About 1 in 20 hospitals are children’s hospitals in the United States. This means that hospitals specifically designed around addressing the needs of kids are expected to serve much larger areas of the country. Seeing more people from wider areas has pushed our children’s hospitals to their limits. Without a massive increase in fundraising, important hospital programs like child life services and therapy face being cut. This would worsen the outcomes for kids and make hospital stays even more arduous than they already are.

To properly equip children’s hospitals to weather pandemic conditions and keep our kids and the people who treat them as safe as possible, we are asking our community to step up more than they ever have this year. Without an increase in donations from the local community 67% of the hospitals surveyed admitted that they would not be able to continue providing the level of care they have historically offered. Falling short in this way threatens everything from less essential programs and staff to the continued operations of the children’s hospitals themselves.

If you are able to stretch your budget, donate to your local children’s hospital through Extra Life – 100% of your donation goes to the hospital. For those who have time or energy, register and fundraise as much as you can, in any way you can. If you can’t do either of those things, take to social media and your offline social circles to let others about the dire the situation of children’s hospitals across the United States.

Things might seem bleak, but the good work continues for as long as it can – with your help.

Don’t forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!