Folks, after a year like 2008, I think all we can possibly do is resolve to make a fresh start in 2009. Sure, there's some lingering financial problems that aren't going away, not only in the US economy as a whole but also within far too many hospitals as well.
But rather than list out the many problems hospital financial leaders face, let's look at a few things that might give cause for hope:
* We have a new presidential administration coming in, led by a relatively young leader who seems more attuned to our industry than many leaders in the past.
* The recession has been going on for quite some time, but it can't last forever. My completely unqualified gut feeling (yeah, I'm no economist) is that we'll see some improvements in economic indicators by sometime in the second quarter.
* The incoming administration seems inclined only to finance or otherwise support the adoption of health IT, a big budget item that has been imposing a massive drag on budgets.
* The industry has had some time to adjust to he fact that consumers are paying a lot more of the bill for their care. Maybe next year facilities will have the experience to roll out new techniques and technologies that help them collect more.
Folks, can you share any other causes for optimism about 2009? If so, please write to me and I'll share them the next time we publish, which will be January 7th.
In the mean time, enjoy your holiday. I look forward to serving you in the coming year! - Anne