Hospital Financial Performance In The Recent Recession And Implications For Institutions That Remain Financially Weak
Author: Gloria J. Bazzoli, Naleef Fareed, Teresa M. Waters
The recent recession had a profound effect on all sectors of the US economy, including health care. We examined how private hospitals fared through the recession and considered how changes in their financial health may affect their ability to respond to future industry challenges. We categorized 2,971 private short-term general medical or surgical hospitals (both nonprofit and for-profit) according to their pre-recession financial health and safety-net status, and we examined their operational status changes and operating and total financial margins during 2006–11. We found that hospitals that were financially weak before the recession remained so during and after the recession. The total margins of nonprofit hospitals (both safety-net and other institutions) declined in 2008 but returned to their pre-recession levels by 2011. The recession did not create additional fiscal pressure on hospitals that were previously financially weak or in safety-net roles. However, both groups continue to have notable financial deficiencies that could limit their abilities to meet the growing demands on the industry.