Uncompensated care hurts hospital profit margins

Oregon's hospitals finished 2010 with slightly lower profit margins due to rising costs for providing care to indigent patients--a financial trend likely to be experienced by hospitals elsewhere in the U.S., according to the Lund Report.

As a whole, the state's hospitals reported about $250 million in net income, for a profit margin of 4.17 percent. That compared to 4.27 percent in 2009.

The hospitals also provided about $1.22 billion in uncompensated care, up slightly from 2009. However, that increase is moderate compared to the 22.1 percent increase between 2008 and 2009. The care numbers represent full charges for care, not the actual cost of providing it.

Oregon's hospitals also saw increased shortfalls in Medicare and Medicaid funding, a trend regularly experienced in other states.

In addition to the hospital finances, almost 20 hospital executives associated with hospitals in Oregon earned $1 million or more in 2009. However, most of those are system executives who oversee hospitals in other states.

For more:
- here's the Lund Report article
- read the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems uncompensated care report