Some local hospitals are getting millions of dollars from the most recent stimulus bill for COVID-19 care, but Rep. Brian Higgins said more needs to arrive.
The South Buffalo Democrat said more money will have to be spent because there is no serious treatment for the disease, no vaccine and medical care is basically supportive care.
Tens of billions of dollars are flowing through the health care system to pay for treatment of patients, particularly a patient who is on a ventilator and requires a lot of personalized care. Higgins said Washington put up cash in the CARES Act.
This latest allocation goes to some of the area's largest hospitals.
"A little bit of solution to the problem," Higgins said. "Congress appropriates a larger amount and then the Department of Health and Human Services distributes it more incrementally. I wish it came out faster. I wish more hospitals were included. But Mercy Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban, General Hospital and Sister's Hospital will receive more than $65 million."
Higgins said he is working on more cash for hospitals, including Erie County Medical Center and other healthcare providers, as they are being hit with a double whammy.
"On the revenue side and on the expense side. It's a horrible situation," he said. "They're trying to manage it as best they can. All of these hospitals, in talking to the hospital leaders and health system care leaders, have done a very good job in ramping up to prepare for this. But no one was prepared for this, including the nation."
Higgins said even with the vast sums of money going into care, the death rate will continue to rise — from the current 2,000 people a day to 4,000 by August, and those totals may be misleading because the number of deaths is probably higher.