MA hospital profits double since 2004

Massachusetts hospitals have collectively seen a substantial increase in profit over the past two years, with profits almost doubling between 2004 and 2006, according to an analysis of public financial data by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Not surprisingly, given longstanding tensions on the issue, MNA is arguing that hospitals should use these funds to boost staff-to-patient ratios. Hospitals say that they've boosted staffing by 15 percent over the past three years, but the union contends that these numbers are inaccurate.

According to the data, the state's hospitals earned more than $1 billion in profits during 2006, a 10 percent increase from 2005. Meanwhile, profits nearly doubled between 2004 and 2006. Standouts from the crowd included teaching hospital Massachusetts General, which earned $295 million in 2006, Children's Hospital, which earned $101 million, and Brigham and Women's Hospital, which earned $69 million. Despite these gains, however, 40 of the state's 69 acute care hospitals had a lower profit margin last year than previously, down to 3 percent in 2006 from 3.5 percent in 2005.

To get more background on the Mass. hospital profitability:
- read this article from The Boston Globe