The American Hospital Association (AHA) has revisited its landmark survey on the U.S. hospital economy published in November, and today released The Economic Crisis: The Toll on the Patients and Communities Hospitals Serve.
AHA has found that the economy is having devastating consequences on both individual patients and the larger communities that the hospitals serve. 9 in 10 hospitals have made cutbacks to services by cutting staff, administrative expenses, and services including but not limited to mental health, post acute care, clinics and ambulatory programs, and patient education.
These cutbacks are not helping to buoy hospital operations. 45% of hospitals report that their ability to access capital since December 2008 continues to get worse. As the chart shows operating margins are fast eroding. Cash on hand is decreasing along with debt service coverage. Thus, 77% of hospitals have reduced capital spending in terms of scaling back planned projects or those in progress, deciding not to move forward with planned projects, and stopping projects already in process.
Data for this survey was collected in March 2009 and represents a broad sample of community hospitals.