Thursday, May 26, 2016

Report: Nearly 1/3 of Pennsylvania's hospitals, many of them rural, lost money in 2015

Many of Pennsylvania's most remote hospitals are operating in the red, says a report released today from the independent Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) state agency. Overall, 29 percent of the state's hospitals are losing money, Steve Twedt reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. But numbers are grim in rural areas. For example, Ellwood City Hospital, a 70-bed facility in the eastern part of the state, has not reported a profit since 1998. The hospital, which is looking for an affiliation partner, recorded a negative 7.62 percent margin for fiscal 2015.

Other rural hospitals report similar losses, Twedt writes. Denis Lukes, chief financial officer for the Healthcare Council of Western Pennsylvania, told Twedt, “And these tend to be the only hospitals for miles and miles around. I think there’s a real need for some protection from across the state, just in terms of access to care.” Lukas said "the western part of the state gets hit harder because Medicare, in addition to its overall cuts, reimburses hospitals at a lower rate based on a formula that factors in hospital employee salaries."

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