Bankruptcy Law, Credit

Hospital Bankruptcies the Result of a Downward Trend

A recent study by the Department of Health Services Administration at the University of Alabama, reveals that it is not simply a “bad year” but a downward trend over time, decreasing volumes, reimbursement changes and deteriorating physician relationships that results in a hospital filing for bankruptcy.

While 67 percent of hospitals that filed for bankruptcy eventually closed, one-third completed a re-organization. The study examined a six-year period from 2000 to 2006, during which 42 hospitals across the nation filed for bankruptcy. Data was compiled from the American Hospital Association and trade publications to get detailed information on these organizations.

The study revealed that filing hospitals tend to be smaller and many factors were involved, including: poor financial management, changes in pay, reimbursement reductions, overzealous construction, purchasing of physician practices, decrease in volume and demographic shifts.

Many organizations often overlook the signs and wait until they are in a very poor financial condition before filing. If the hospital starts pursuing strategies to change earlier, they have a better chance at restructuring afterward. Hospitals need to look at the issue from a positive perspective. First, bankruptcy can be a good way for hospitals to get debt relief and be purchased by a system or other hospital. It also gives time to pause and think about how they will move forward in the future.

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