For generations, American hospitals have been considered recession-proof, but there is reason to believe the current economic crisis is an exception. Hospitals have shown declining financial margins and decreased admissions. The severe recession has adversely affected many hospitals' finances, creating a risk of closure and constraining plans for expansion. We believe there is also a risk of harming clinical quality, through decreased staffing that may limit the momentum of the hospital quality movement, especially in fiscally vulnerable institutions. We consider ways the federal government could aid hospitals by promoting hospital quality while providing employment. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2010;5:302–305. © 2010 Society of Hospital Medicine.