Massachusetts hospitals cut costs, but community hospitals still struggle

A new report from the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA) shows that the state's hospitals made significant strides in cutting costs during 2009, reports the Boston Globe. However, payments have decreased as well, and community hospitals in western Massachusetts are struggling to eke out profits, reports The Republican.

Hospital expense growth slowed from 8.6 percent in 2008 to 3 percent in 2009--a plunge of 65 percent or $3.1 billion, according to the MHA. However, that hasn't resulted in a profit bonanza because payments to hospitals decreased by $2.4 billion during that two-year period, the association estimated.

Many community hospitals in western Massachusetts don't have patient volumes adequate to sustain those pay cuts, Robert Perry, president and CEO of the 97-bed Noble Hospital in Westfield, told The Republican. Noble reported a deficit of almost $850,000 for fiscal year 2009. "I'm not making any secrets about it. We're struggling here, and many community hospitals are struggling," he said.

To learn more:
- read this Boston Globe report
- read this article from The Republican
- access the MHA report here