Upstate New York hospital group warns of possible service cuts

Increasing labor costs and decreasing revenue could cause about 50 hospitals in upstate New York to cut services in the coming year, the CEO of a regional hospital association told lohud in a Sept. 26 report. 

The newspaper examined data from the Iroquois Healthcare Association, which surveyed 52 hospitals in its 32-county member group. It found that nearly 90 percent of the hospitals reported negative or "razor-thin" operating margins. 

"In my 30 years doing this, I've never seen the financial condition of our hospital members worse than it has been for the last six months," Gary Fitzgerald, president and CEO of Iroquois Healthcare Association, told the newspaper. "If nothing happens, at this point next year we will see some service reductions, and some hospitals have already reduced services."

The hospitals' spending on contingent staffing has increased 50 percent since last year, for an estimated joint cost of $1.2 billion by the end of 2022. 

State lawmakers have already raised the Medicaid rate by 1 percent. Hospitals are considering asking them to raise taxes on marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes, according to the newspaper. 

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