How hospitals are saving money amid the pandemic: 5 things to know

Supply reprocessing was the most common cost containment strategy used by U.S. hospitals and health systems in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new Kaufman Hall report. 

Kaufman Hall's 2020 State of Healthcare Performance Improvement report analyzed results from a poll of 64 U.S. healthcare executives to better understand the effects of the pandemic.
 
Five things to know:

1. The three most common cost-cutting measures were supply reprocessing, furloughs and salary reductions. Sixty-three percent of respondents said their organization implemented a supply-reprocessing strategy; 59 percent said furloughs were used, and 56 percent said salary reductions or freezes were used. 

2. Thirty one percent of respondents said that their organizations permanently cut staff, and 20 percent said they are considering a merger or acquisition to offset revenue losses. 

3. Twenty-two percent of respondents saw their expenses increase more than 50 percent during the pandemic. The greatest percentage increase in expenses was personal protective equipment and the second was expenses related to nurse staffing. 

4. One-third of respondents reported that their organizations saw their operating margin decline more than 100 percent from the second quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2020.

5. Oncology was the only service area where more than half of survey respondents reported their patient volumes rebounded to more than 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels. 

Access the full report here.

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