UAMS Gets $101M Shot in the Arm From Fed


UAMS Gets $101M Shot in the Arm From Fed
UAMS estimates its losses are nearly $1 million per day. (Amanda Cordell)

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences received an emergency advance of $101 million from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to help stop the bleeding of cash caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

“This money is being used to address short-term cash flow issues that have arisen due to the slowdown in collections due to the decrease in net patient service revenue,” UAMS spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said via email to Whispers. “Without this advance we would have been facing serious cash flow issues in the coming months.”

UAMS, which includes the state’s only teaching hospital, estimated its losses are close to $1 million a day, Taylor wrote.

UAMS obtained $70 million of the sum on April 22 and the remaining $31 million last week.

The $101 million infusion doesn’t offset any losses and must be paid back within a year.

CMS’ Accelerated & Advance Payment Program is providing the money. The payment program was expanded for providers and suppliers during the coronavirus pandemic, according to CMS.

“The expansion of this program is only for the duration of the public health emergency,” CMS said.

The payment is intended to provide necessary funds when there is a disruption in claims submission or claims processing, or both.

UAMS isn’t alone in its financial struggles tied to COVID-19.

Health systems in Arkansas and across the country have seen patient volumes fall because people were avoiding hospitals and elective procedures were temporarily banned as a precaution. Those temporary bans were lifted at the end of last month and several hospitals have restarted the surgeries.

Still, you might have seen the April 30 report from the Arkansas Hospital Association, which surveyed 80 Arkansas hospitals about the financial impact of the virus in March and April. Those hospitals estimated a total financial hit of $270 million.

Before the pandemic, UAMS had seen an improvement in its financial health. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, UAMS saw a surplus of $39.8 million on record operating revenue of $1.625 billion.

The previous year, UAMS reported a deficit of $15.5 million. And for its fiscal year that ended in 2017, the loss was $19.9 million.

UAMS said that through the first nine months of this current fiscal year, which ended March 31, it had a surplus of $6 million.

During the same period last year, it had a surplus of $34.3 million.