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Coronavirus having 'catastrophic' impact on children's hospitals: letter to HHS

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Children's hospitals across the country are experiencing "catastrophic losses" after stepping up to help in the COVID-19 fight, Fox News has learned, and they are calling on the Department of Health and Human Services for urgent help.

In a letter Tuesday to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, the leaders of some 76 children's hospitals across the country are suggesting that "failure to provide immediate relief to children’s hospitals will weaken our infrastructure and risk our current capability to care for all the nation’s children."

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The list of hospitals backing the letter includes the largest children's care facilities in the nation, as well as those in our nation's capital.

"America’s children’s hospitals have experienced an over 40 percent decline in revenues and are currently incurring approximately $2 billion in losses per month."

— Letter from 76 children's hospital executives to HHS Secretary

As with general hospitals and health care centers across the country, children's hospitals devoted space and resources to coronavirus patients, suspending nonessential treatments in some cases and generally assisting where possible.

"We did this at considerable cost," the letter reads, and the damage appears to be taking an outsized toll.

"America’s children’s hospitals have experienced an over 40 percent decline in revenues and are currently incurring approximately $2 billion in losses per month," according to children's hospital presidents and CEOs nationwide.

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These losses are continuing even after the allocation of previous relief funds to include children's hospitals. Still, they say "the damage the crisis is creating cannot be reversed without the continued support and certainty that only the federal government can provide."

Bobby Dean, 9, tested positive for coronavirus at the hospital and the doctors diagnosed him with a pediatric inflammatory syndrome related to the virus.

Bobby Dean, 9, tested positive for coronavirus at the hospital and the doctors diagnosed him with a pediatric inflammatory syndrome related to the virus. (Dean Family Photo via AP)

Now, they are hoping any considerations regarding remaining relief funds for the nation's health care system will "fully reflect the contribution made by children’s hospitals... [and] the indispensable role we play for the patient populations we serve."

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Specifically, the signees of this letter are requesting additional funds from the Public Health and Social Services Fund (PHSSEF) immediately be released "to support the continued viability of the health care infrastructure for children."

Failure to do so, they warned, "will weaken our infrastructure and risk our current capability to care for all the nation’s children."

"Our losses continue to grow and our ability to contain the damage to children’s programs decreases with every day that passes," the letter concludes.

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"We appreciate the need to review data," it reads, "but we believe continued delays in relief allocations are having very real repercussions for the children and families we serve."