Hospital expenses continue to rise — especially surgical supplies

Hospital expenses continued to rise in March, according to a May 5 Syntellis report. Data analyzed from more than 1,300 hospitals showed year-over-year increases for total expenses and total non-labor expenses.

Total hospital expenses rose 4.7 percent year over year in March, while total non-labor expenses rose 5.5 percent in the same time period. The increases are linked to escalating costs of supplies, drugs and purchased services. 

More specifically, operating room medical supply costs increased "significantly," the report said, up 8.5 percent year over year in March. Looking back two years, surgical supply costs are up 13.5 percent from March 2021 to now. 

"Labor expenses remain high, but growth in labor expenses slowed the first three months of 2023," the report said, noting total labor expenses were up in March by 1.8 percent. This represents a slight increase after the market saw labor expenses ease to less than 1 percent in the first two months of the year.

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