WI hospitals plan new financial reporting scheme

Struggling with pressure from their state legislature, Wisconsin's hospitals are gearing up to present their own financial reports, arguing that officials and lawmakers are working from inaccurate financial information. State legislators, as well as Gov. Jim Doyle (D), have suggested that hospital systems are profitable enough to absorb a hospital tax or capital investment regulations. The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA), however, says that Doyle and state legislators are using incomplete and misleading data to draw such conclusions. Right now, the state collects data on individual hospitals, but not for health systems as a whole, WHA execs note. As a result, the state's financial measures don't reflect the costs of sometimes unprofitable ventures such as urgent care clinics and multi-specialty medical groups, the association says. When the margins on such ventures are figured in, health systems are frequently less profitable than they appear, particularly given that hospitals may account for only a third of a health system's volume. To address these concerns, the WHA is planning a pilot project under which some of the state's healthcare systems will develop more accurate reporting systems.

To learn more about the hospital profits controversy:
- read this piece in The Business Journal of Milwaukee