The year 2008 saw a great loss in revenue in 32% of hospitals across the country. Many of the older hospital facilities required face-lifts and new equipment while newer hospitals got caught in the economic pinch. Hospitals rely on insurance to help pay the patient’s bills but when so many are without insurance, hospitals lose, especially at the emergency room level.
The American Hospital Association has released a report on the state of hospitals in the economic downturn:
· There is the inability of hospitals to upgrade equipment.
· There are lower admissions and elective procedures.
· Thanks to rising unemployment there is increased uncompensated care.
· There are stresses placed on Federal and State budgets because of an increase in the number of Medicaid and Medicare assisted patients.
· Investment gains turn to losses and patients seek less care.
In cities such as San Francisco, hospitals deal with high-profile illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. Hospitals in Detroit have more patients that cannot afford to pay for treatment.
Hospitals are an integral part of the American economy. Nearly 45% of new sector jobs were created in 2007 within the health care industry.
The number of people employed by hospitals today is approximately 5 million. The health care industry is currently the only fast moving growth industry in the country.
A nursing shortage can be found at hospitals in many cities. Foreign nurses are being imported to take up the slack. Certain areas of the country have been able to reverse this situation.
Hospital Corporation of America and Tenet Healthcare Corporation are two of the largest owners/operators of hospitals across the country.