Nebraska hospitals contend with historic financial pressure

The Nebraska Hospital Association predicts the high costs associated with the pandemic will be lasting, WOWT reported Nov. 15. 

The main reasons behind these high costs are associated with inflation on supplies, labor costs and shortages, and patients' length of stay. 

"We have patients sitting unnecessarily in our hospitals for days on end," NHA President Jeremy Nordquist told the news outlet. "We've had cases over 400 days where patients have sat unnecessarily in a hospital bed. Hospitals don't get reimbursed for most of that, or sometimes any of that beyond when they're ready to be discharged. It also means that we can't continue to care for other Nebraskans who need care."

Mr. Nordquist added that issues with commercial payers are also affecting costs at hospitals statewide, sharing that Nebraska hospitals are seeing more requirements for prior authorizations, contributing to long patient stays. He said he has also seen payers cutting telehealth payments by 50 percent of what was reimbursed during the pandemic, according to WOWT.

Nebraska hospitals are also facing a significant staffing shortage. The Nebraska Center of Nursing reports that the state has been down 2,500 nurses since the beginning of the pandemic, with a projection to be down 5,500 nurses by 2025.

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