Hospital building boom's catch: Higher interest costs

Hospitals in some regions of the country have undergone a recent building boom, renovating, expanding or building new facilities, but it's come with a price--higher interest payments.

According to Crain's Chicago Business, three hospitals in the region that have recently been on a building binge say the cost of servicing their debt has gone up.

Silver Cross Hospital in the Chicago suburb of New Lenox reported a 73 percent spike in interest payments. The organizaton, which just built a new flagship facility, must pay $19 million for the nine months ended June 30, compared to $11 million for the similar period between 2011 and 2012. Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, which serves Chicago's southwest suburbs and recently opened up a new patient tower, saw its interest expense rise 74 percent. At Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital, formerly Children's Memorial Hospital, interest payments increase more than five-fold.

What is going on among Chicago-area hospitals is not an isolated case. Hospital construction is moving ahead at a brisk pace in other parts of the country, and presumably interest expenses are rising along with the new facilities.

The Dallas County Board of Supervisors  voted to raise the property tax levy for Parkland Memorial Hospital, which also recently built a new facility, reported the Dallas Morning News. The hospital has more than $700 million in long-term debt, and payments are projected to rise by more than $7 million a year in 2014.

To learn more:
- read the Crain's Chicago Business article
- check out the Dallas Morning News article

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