Hospital execs say Q4 finances up, worried about next year

Seventy percent of hospital executives reported that their organizations' fourth quarter finances were better than expected, according to brokerage firm ITG Market Research.

ITG Market Research surveyed executives from 100 hospitals and hospital systems in December 2011, asking CEOs, chief financial officers, chief operating officers, chief information officers, chief medical officers and managing directors about their operating margins in light of more uninsured and Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Even though they expressed better-than-expected quarterly finances, 85 percent of hospital executives said they are very concerned about the impact of reduced reimbursement rates on their facility's financial performance in 2012, and 48 percent expect business conditions for the industry to deteriorate during the next 12 months. 

"Hospital executives are understandably worried," ITG Vice President of Healthcare Market Research Graeme Christianson said in a company press release yesterday. "The reimbursement cuts expected in 2012 will have a direct impact on hospitals' bottom lines, and there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the timing and impact of further healthcare reforms. If you add in the general unease about the overall U.S. economy, you have a storm of difficult challenges that hospitals are struggling to respond to at the same time."

Executives also reported challenges with physician and nursing shortages and staff morale problems, as well as legislative burdens associated with the Recovery Audit Contractor and the newer Zone Program Integrity Contractor programs, aimed at preventing Medicare fraud.

Only 5 percent of hospital executives expect improved business conditions in the coming year.

For more information:
- read the press release

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