Four of every 10 hospitals are investing insufficient capital to keep ahead of asset depreciation, according to the second report in the Healthcare Financial Management Association's six-part "Financing the Future" series. Between 1997 and 2001, overall capital spending for fixed hospital assets such as buildings and equipment grew to $23.7 billion from $23 billion but was outpaced by increased demand for inpatient and outpatient services, which grew 7.7% and 19.6%, respectively, the report said. An inaugural report issued in October 2003 concluded that the number of hospitals with broad access to capital has dropped since 1997. The reports are being prepared by HFMA and PricewaterhouseCoopers and funded by GE Capital. The third report in the series will be released in March, HFMA said. According to the latest report, capital spending is highest at large, urban not-for-profit hospitals. The report also identified geographic disparities in spending, with hospitals in Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Mexico and North Dakota seeming to have more difficulty keeping up with depreciation and hospitals in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon and South Dakota seeming to have less. -- by Mary Chris Jaklevic
Many hospitals lagging in capital spending: HFMA
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