Here's the good news: New York hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are finally starting to show some real decline for the first time since the holiday season. 

But what comes next for hospitals in New York who have been stretched to the breaking point during the pandemic? 

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday gave an indication where the discussion is going. The state's junior senator released a letter to the acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare and & Medicaid Services to request the Biden administration "explore all options" to help reduce financial burdnes on hospitals. 

Specifically, Gillibrand is concerned with the costs associated with emergency measures of the Medicare Accelerated/Advanced Payments Program.

Gillibrand called for options like loan forgiveness, adjustments to repayment of interest rates to reduce payment burdens and an extension of repayment schedules. 

“Though it appears we may be turning a corner nationally in our pandemic response, the financial burdens on New York’s hospitals have not ceased, nor will they in the near future. That’s why I am urging the Biden administration to explore all options to help our hospitals manage the massive financial losses incurred throughout the past few months,” Gillibrand said. “Accelerated and advancement payments through Medicare, as authorized under the CARES Act, have been a lifeline for New York’s hospitals during the ongoing pandemic. The federal government has a responsibility to make sure our hospitals can continue delivering the quality care we rely on through the worst and best of times.”

There are now 3,884 people hospitalized in New York due to COVID-19 after patient rates plateaued above 4,000 hospitalizations for much of the winter. 

Still, the number remains higher than the summertime average of less 1,000 a day.

“The Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program was a lifeline to New York hospitals during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the repayment terms are onerous,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske. “Fortunately, Senator Gillibrand recognizes that the hospitals continue to struggle financially as they navigate numerous COVID-19-related challenges. GNYHA is extremely grateful to Senator Gillibrand for her efforts to provide relief to hospitals in New York and across the country by easing the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program’s repayment terms.”