PA hospitals see declining financial health

Like hospitals across the U.S., Pennsylvania's hospitals are struggling financially. The sad thing is, they were fighting for survival even before the recession hit its peak, according to a new report from a state agency. The report, which comes from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, found that both operating and overall hospital margins fell during fiscal year 2007-08.

During that period, operating margins dropped from 4.82 percent to 3.98 percent, though they'd been rising since fiscal 2004. Meanwhile, total margins--including investment income/losses--fell to 4.7 percent in fiscal '08. That's a big increase from the 2.19 percent posted in 2002, but a big drop from the 6.56 percent seen in 2007.

While cumulative margins across all hospitals were positive, 30 percent of the 169 hospitals reporting had negative total margins. That's up from 42 reporting negative margins in 2007.

To get more data on PA hospitals:
- read this Philadelphia Inquirer piece

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