The severe lack of pediatric hospital beds that has been an issue this fall is the result of hospitals making financial choices over the last 10 years to close down wards for children, as they usually do not offer much profit, and to increase beds for procedures like cancer treatment and joint replacements that are more profitable. This story was also reported by CBS News. Hospitals have been undergoing a prolonged period of downsizing their pediatric units due to them being less remunerative compared to adult units, said Mark Wietecha, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Association, and this is a large factor in the present lack of beds. As a result, medical centers across the country have set up triage tents, postponed elective operations, and shipped cataclysmically ill kids out of their state to grapple with the mass of sick kids beset by various illnesses, especially respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, and coronavirus. Hospitals focus on maximizing their profits by ensuring their beds are filled to maximum capacity and the patients who occupy them have insurance plans with high reimbursements. Dr. Scott Krugman, vice chair of Pediatrics at the Herman and Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital in Baltimore, stated, “Basically, it’s all about the money.” Hospitals are dependent on big-ticket treatments with good reimbursement rates from reliable payers in order to make revenue. There is no benefit for hospitals to offer services that do not bring in any profit. A study published in the Pediatrics journal in 2021 recorded a decline of 24% in the amount of pediatric inpatient units in hospitals between the years of 2500 and 2018. This year hospitals have shut down children’s departments in Boston and Springfield in MA, Richmond in VA, and Tulsa, OK. Sign up to KHN’s free Morning Briefing with your email address. The spike in life-threatening breathing issues among children is another way in which covid-19 has substantially changed the way health services are being delivered.