The American Hospital Associations latest survey of the economys toll on healthcare found fewer patients admitted to hospitals or seeking elective care, and stress on hospital operating budgets. The number of patients covered by safety net insurance has increased among 46% of respondents, significantly so for 8% since the beginning of the year compared with the same period a year ago. Nearly six out of 10 reported fewer elective procedures. Of those, 18% reported a significant decline. And 38% and 17% said hospital admissions have dropped moderately and significantly, respectively, mirroring what other hospital executives have experienced (April 20, p. 12). Nearly six out of 10 hospitals reported operating margins fell, and of those, about half reported significant declines for the calendar year to date, compared with the same period last year. Close to half of the hospitals reported job cuts since September, 22% said they have reduced services and 9% said they were considering a merger in response to the economy. Roughly 1,080 hospital chief executives responded to the e-mail and fax poll conducted in March.
Late News: Hospitals see more uninsured, fiscal stress, AHA survey says
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