An investment gap is crippling New York's most financially vulnerable hospitals. Only those New York hospitals that have capital to invest in the most profitable services are benefiting from a general rise in inpatient demand, according to a quarterly report on utilization by the not-for-profit United Hospital Fund. The increase in demand for inpatient services is the first since the late 1980s but differs from the previous surge in that not every hospital in the city is affected, the report said. The most financially vulnerable hospitals -- one-third of the city's 36 not-for-profit hospitals, according to a previous report -- are experiencing declining demand and empty beds. Between 1990 and 2002, nearly all of the growth in market share was enjoyed by the 15 hospitals that are in a "low risk" financial condition. The study found that static or declining admissions was a major factor behind the downturn at financially vulnerable hospitals. Because of their lack of resources to invest in profitable services, these same hospitals historically have not provided a lot of the high technology and elderly-care services that are experiencing the most growth. "The financial stability of the city's safety net hospitals ... has long been dependent on inpatient revenues that are now dwindling," the study's author said. -- by Cinda Becker
Market growth not helping most fragile N.Y. hospitals: report
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