(Bloomberg) -- Hospitals are asking Congress to give them another $25 billion and hand out all previously allotted funds to shore up facilities ravaged by the omicron outbreak. 

The money would pay for training and extra security as hospitals cope with staff shortages, higher costs and lost revenue, the American Hospital Association said in a letter to congressional leaders. 

“We are now in need of additional immediate support from Congress and the administration in order to continue standing strong and to be able to provide timely access to life-saving health care to your constituents,” AHA Executive Vice President Stacey Hughes wrote in a letter dated Jan. 20. “The current surge has impacted hospitals in ways not seen previously.” 

The pandemic has slammed hospitals with higher costs for personnel and supplies while limiting the day-to-day medical procedures and operations that pay the bills. Some states and hospitals have paused elective surgeries to make room for coronavirus patients struggling to survive. Meanwhile, earlier rounds of federal funding meant to help tide hospitals over are winding down, and more pressure is looming from changes in Medicare payments.

The hospital group asked Congress to immediately distribute the money remaining in the $178 billion Provider Relief Fund and the $8.5 billion rural hospital fund. No distributions have been made or announced since the delta and omicron variants caused new spikes in hospitalizations, the group said. 

AHA also asked Congress to further delay a pending 2% Medicare cut until at least the end of the year, and to suspend payments that hospitals owe for receiving advances on Medicare funding for six months.

A representative for Patty Murray (D-Washington), the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, didn’t have an immediate comment.

As of Jan. 13, Covid-19 hospitalizations jumped 35% from the previous week and adult intensive-care patients rose 21%, Hughes said, with cases expected to increase in coming weeks. 

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