UW Medicine Announces $500 Million in Financial Losses by Fall

compiled by Emerald Staff 

UW Medicine is no exception to health care systems throughout the nation — all experiencing financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on current forecasts, UW Medicine expects its financial losses will exceed $500 million by the end of the summer. This financial projection reflects substantial lost clinical revenue due to the cancellation of non-emergency and elective procedures and the high cost of treating patients with COVID-19.

People often think of UW Medicine/Montlake on the University of Washington campus. However, it also includes Airlift Northwest, Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center – Northwest, UW Neighborhood Clinics, UW Physicians, UW School of Medicine, and Valley Medical Center. Harborview has a unique role in serving as King County’s hospital to serve those least able to pay for their medical care. 

Dr. Paul Ramsey, UW Medicine CEO, announced a series of steps to increase revenue and reduce expenses to stabilize the financial foundation. In addition to seeking reimbursements under federal and state programs for some of the lost net revenue and costs associated with COVID-19, UW Medicine is gradually resuming a full range of clinical services and designing long-term changes in how it delivers high quality, safe and cost-effective care.

UW Medicine will also take urgent actions to reduce expenses, including salary reductions for top leadership. “UW Medicine has been at the forefront of the national response to COVID-19 in treating critically ill patients, protecting the health of our workforce and limiting the spread of the disease in our community,” said Dr. Ramsey. “I could not be more proud of our employees and their dedication to our mission of improving health for all people.”

UW Medicine’s leaders will host town halls with faculty and staff to further discuss the recovery plans. They will also assure that the plans are developed and implemented in accordance with UW Medicine’s collective bargaining agreements.

It is not clear how the financial crisis will impact the planned Harborview clinic inside Hobson Place for unhoused individuals, currently under construction off Rainier Avenue at the former Kusak Cut Glass Works site.