The Economic Crisis: The Toll on the Patients and Communities Hospitals Serve

Source: American Hospital Association, April 27, 2009

Six out of ten hospitals nationally are seeing a greater proportion of patients without insurance coming through their emergency departments and nearly half have reduced staff according to a March 2009 survey of hospitals.

• The economy is taking its toll on the patients and communities
hospitals serve. For the majority of hospitals:
– The proportion of emergency department patients without insurance is increasing.
– A higher proportion of patients are unable to pay for care and many hospitals are seeing more patients covered by Medicaid and other public programs for low income populations.
– Fewer patients are seeking inpatient and elective services raising concerns that individuals are putting off needed care.
– Community need for subsidized services such as clinics, screenings and outreach is increasing even as charitable contributions are down for many hospitals.
• Nine in 10 hospitals have made cutbacks to address economic concerns.
– Nearly half have reduced staff.
– Eight in 10 have cut administrative expenses.
– One in five have reduced services communities depend on including behavioral health, post acute care, clinic, patient education and other services that require subsidies.

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