Low Reimbursements, Uninsured Contribute to Hospital Deficits
One-third of California hospitals are operating with deficits, according to California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson, the Contra Costa Times reports. More than 70 hospitals throughout the state have closed in the past decade, including 11 in the past two years.
Hospitals that treat low-income and uninsured patients "often have the toughest time" financially, according to the Times.
Emerson said hospitals lose 40 to 50 cents on every dollar spent caring for Medi-Cal beneficiaries because reimbursement rates are too low. Medi-Cal is the state's Medicaid program.
Hospitals are enacting different strategies to address shortfalls, including voter-approved tax increases, transferring patients to other hospitals for care and downgrading emergency departments (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 9/14).