55% of hospitals expect revenue drop under health reform

As the U.S. Supreme Court decides the fate of the health reform law, 55 percent of hospitals and health systems think the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will lead to a decrease in revenue, and only 12 percent expect a revenue bump, according to a new survey from healthcare benefits management firm HighRoads and healthcare compensation consultant Sullivan Cotter. However, 28 percent don't know how the health reform law will affect revenues, the inaugural survey found.

"Hospitals and health systems have unique benefits management challenges that may be magnified by ACA requirements," Sullivan Cotter Senior Consultant Michael Gaal said in a statement last week.

Despite the mixed revenue expectations, hospital leaders are moving ahead with aspects of the law, such as enhancing care coordination and developing electronic medical records systems, The Morning Call reported.

The survey also revealed that 42 percent of hospitals and health systems plan to become an accountable care organization, a payment and delivery model promoted in the reform law, while 18 percent plan to organize their employee health plan similar to an ACO model.

Regardless of plans to form ACOs, few hospitals have fully embraced the new model, Lehigh Valley Health Network President and CEO Ronald Swinfard said in the Morning Call article. LVH has established only a pilot ACO because of the expensive and complex rules.

Meanwhile, a report earlier this month by Moody's Investors Service said that for-profit hospitals would see increasing costs without the ACA. A full or partial repeal of the ACA would limit hospital operators' revenue growth and profit margins and constrain cash flow, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the statement
- read the Morning Call article