Fitch: For-profit hospitals unlikely to see positive admissions growth in 2016

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A group of the largest U.S. for-profit hospital companies reported positive growth in admissions in 2015 for the first time since 2008, according to a Fitch Ratings report.

"A repeat performance of positive growth is unlikely in 2016, since the improving economy and Affordable Care Act provided a lift that can't overtake longer-term headwinds to growth, like pressure by payers to reduce short-stays and readmissions," said Megan Neuburger, managing director at Fitch Ratings.

For the first quarter of 2016, Fitch expects for-profit hospitals to see organic growth similar to the fourth quarter of 2015, when companies reported negative 1 percent growth in admissions and 1.2 percent growth in adjusted admissions.

"Growth in adjusted admissions will continue to well outpace growth in admissions, with the differential dependent upon the amount of the outpatient market hospital companies can capture," according to Fitch.

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