Kentucky hospitals seek financial help as cases surge

Members of the Kentucky National Guard arrive at Baptist Health to go through introductory training as they begin to help hospital staff with COVID-related assistance. Sept. 14, 2021

Kentucky hospitals remain overwhelmed by COVID-19 as they face chronic staff shortages and a growing financial drain from the increased costs of caring for so many critically ill patients, a hospital spokeswoman told a legislative committee Wednesday.

"Kentucky's facing an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in hospitals due to the delta variant," said Nancy Galvagni, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association. "It's actually well exceeded the worst numbers we've had in the pandemic."

COVID-19 patients tend to be younger, sicker and nearly all unvaccinated, and are taking an increasing amount of intensive care space, according to testimony before the joint House-Senate Health, Welfare and Family Services Committee.

In the last three weeks, Kentucky hospitals have added 200 additional intensive care beds yet still have few to spare, Galvagni said.

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