Survey finds more than half of Pittsburgh-area hospitals operating at loss

More than half — 55 percent — of hospitals in Western Pennsylvania recorded operating losses in the last six months of the 2015 calendar year, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

This marks a notable increase in Pennsylvania hospitals reporting operating losses from just months earlier. According to the report, 34 percent of hospitals reported recording an operating loss when surveyed June 30, the end of fiscal year 2015. The Post-Gazette data comes from a survey of 62 hospitals conducted by the Healthcare Council of Western Pennsylvania.

Factors that have influenced this financial downturn include payers classifying an increasing number of hospital stays as outpatient observations, rather than inpatient admissions, and the shift to high deductible health plans, according to the report. The shift to these health plans has impacted hospital finance in two ways, according to the report. First, that the higher out-of-pocket costs have led to a reduction of inpatient surgeries by 5.82 percent in the last half of 2015 compared to the year prior. Second, patients who do go to the hospital often cannot afford to pay their bills.

Denis Lukes, CFO of the Healthcare Council of Western Pennsylvania, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that these losses are not sustainable.

Read the full report here.


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