Two HCA-owned hospitals in West Virginia will have to lower their inpatient rates after the state's rate review board rejected the hospitals' request for rate hikes. According to the Charleston Gazette, St. Francis Hospital, Charleston, and Putnam General Hospital, Hurricane, requested permission to increase charges by 3% and 2%, respectively. But the state's healthcare authority, which sets rates for all nongovernmental payers, instead decided to cut the rates the hospitals charge -- by less than 1% for St. Francis and by 3.6% for Putnam General, as both hospitals showed their actual rates were higher than they were allowed to charge. However, the hospitals will be allowed to raise some outpatient charges -- St. Francis by 3% and Putnam General by 1.6%. Dan Lauffer, chief executive officer for both hospitals, reportedly told the Gazette the hospitals would focus on cutting supply and labor costs to offset the lower rates, including possible layoffs next year. Neither the state's healthcare authority nor hospital officials were available for comment by deadline. -- by Susanna Moon
W.Va. review board tells hospitals to lower rates
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