Staffing, supply chain shortages cost Washington hospitals $1.75B

Washington hospitals suffered "unsustainable" losses in the first six months of 2022. If circumstances do not change, more than 50 percent of the state's acute hospitals might file for bankruptcy by 2023's end, according to Eric Lewis, CFO of the state's hospital association. 

Between a $1.2 billion operating loss and investment losses, hospitals in Washington lost $1.75 billion for a 12 percent total loss in the first half of the year, Mr. Lewis said in an Oct. 4 press briefing.

Seventy-four of the state's 85 hospitals have experienced negative cash flow, according to Mr. Lewis, and Washington currently has the fewest hospital beds per capita of any U.S. state. 

"More than 50 percent of [the acute hospitals] will be out of cash by the end of 2023 if these losses continue," Mr. Lewis told the press. 

In 2021, the states' hospitals saw a $113 million net operating loss — only a fraction of the losses sustained in the first half of 2022. The difference can be attributed to a decrease in pandemic-related federal relief payments, rising technology costs, supply chain shortages and, most of all, staffing shortages. 

"This 12 percent loss is unsustainable. We are already seeing service cuts, limits on hospital admissions and, as possible without action, we could see hospital closures," Mr. Lewis said.

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