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AHA details impact of economic downturn on patients and hospitals.

With our nation's economic troubles, fewer patients are seeking hospital care while at the same time a growing proportion of patients need help paying for care, according to new report from the American Hospital Association (AHA). The report also noted that hospitals, which employ 5 million people nationwide, could be facing uncertain times as their financial health falters and ability to borrow funds for improving facilities and updating technology is squeezed.

Many hospitals are beginning to see the effects of the economic downturn with more than 30% of survey respondents reporting a moderate to significant decline in patients seeking elective procedures, and nearly 40% of respondents reporting a drop in admissions overall. The majority of hospitals surveyed also noted an increase in the proportion of patients unable to pay for care. Uncompensated care was up 8% from July to September 2008 versus the same period in 2007.

Financial stress is forcing hospitals to make or consider making cutbacks to weather the economic storm including cutting administrative costs (60%), reducing staff (53%), and reducing services (27)%, among the hospitals surveyed. Also, many hospitals are reconsidering or postponing investments in facilities or equipment communities rely on for care.

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Title Annotation:DATA BANK; american hospital association
Publication:Nursing Economics
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:196
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