Weger coordinates the American Hospital Association’s outreach on strategic priorities to the federal government, including the White House. She serves as a liaison for AHA to members of Congress and their staff.
“It’s my job to provide information as they are making decisions and enacting policies that could affect hospitals and health systems,” Weger said.
Weger said COVID-19 brought unique challenges to hospitals and health systems, including the need to:
- Rapidly increase bed capacity
- Expand the ability to reach patients through telehealth.
- Acquire personal protective equipment, or PPE.
- Offset revenue losses from preparing for COVID patients. Many hospitals had to cancel or postpone non-COVID treatments and procedures, causing a significant loss of revenue.
An AHA report estimates a $323.1 billion loss due to COVID-19 expenses and lost revenue for hospitals and health systems from March to December.
AHA has advocated for regulatory relief from the federal administration. It has also asked for flexibility and resources to ensure hospitals have the tools necessary to combat the pandemic.
“We also urged the federal government to provide much-needed funding to hospitals and health systems,” Weger said.
In early April, AHA and its partners launched the Protect the Heroes Campaign. The initiative allowed the public to make donations to America’s hospital and health systems. It raised much-needed funding for critical hospital resources, including hundreds of millions of masks.