Teaching hospitals hit by falling patient volumes

Falling inpatient volumes are hitting Massachusetts teaching hospitals, including Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. CEO Kevin Tabb said the state is seeing "flat or down" inpatient volumes, the Boston Herald reported.

"We don't believe this is a short-term trend," Tabb wrote last month in a staff memo. "We believe it is the start of a fundamental shift."

The closing of a 24-bed floor is the subject of unrest for union workers, who witnessed recent layoffs of 20 people last month, but spokesman for the Harvard Medical School teaching hospital Jerry Berger said in the article it occasionally opens or closes patient floors during the course of continuous monitoring of patient volume.

"All staff from [the floor] 5 Stoneman were placed in open jobs within the medical center," Berger said in an emailed statement to FierceHealthcare.

According to last month's report from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), academic medical centers could lose about 10 percent of their revenue, thanks to lower Medicare disproportionate-share hospital (DSH) payments or failure to meet new quality standards. To offset potential losses, teaching hospitals must adjust their funding, strengthen their brands and embrace partnerships through affiliations or acquisitions. Article

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