The nation's hospitals are pressed by rising patient demand and limited capacity, according to a survey of hospital chief executives by the American Hospital Association.
More than 70% of urban and teaching hospitals responding to the survey reported ambulance diversions in the past 12 months. CEOs said the shortage of caregivers was worsening, with an overall nurse vacancy rate topping 8%.
Despite a moratorium on physician-owned limited-service hospitals at the time of the survey, 20% of the 700 respondents said a specialty hospital was under development in their area.
CEOs said their hospitals still face double-digit increases in pharmacy prices and increases of 7% to 9% for medical supplies and devices. Professional liability costs also continue to climb sharply, particularly in malpractice "crisis states," the AHA said.