Ensure Hospitals Can Stay Open
Many West Virginia hospitals had already stopped handling elective surgeries before Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday issued an executive order requiring the suspension. It makes sense in view of the all-hands-on-deck nature of the COVID-19 crisis.
But it adds to the cash-flow challenge faced by many hospitals.
With $2.2 trillion being doled out via instructions in an 880-page bill, one might suppose the federal CARES Act contains some help for hospitals in that situation. We hope it does — but that has not been determined yet.
One Mountain State hospital, in Williamson, already has plans to close on April 21 because of longstanding financial concerns. Another, in Fairmont, closed a few days ago.
West Virginia may need all the hospitals we can get during the coming months. If the existing CARES Act does not provide meaningful assistance to them, Congress should ensure a subsequent bill does.