Private Hospitals in Southern California Feel Financial Crunch
Almost two dozen private hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties are at risk of bankruptcy or closure, according to hospital administrators, industry experts and state data, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The facilities account for up to 15% of hospital beds in the region, according to the Times.
Since 1996, more than 50 community hospitals have closed in Southern California. Fourteen emergency departments also have closed in the region in the last five years.
According to the Times, longer ambulance rides, longer delays in EDs and more limited access to care -- especially for low-income and uninsured residents -- could result from additional hospital closures or reductions to urgent care services.
According to the Times, the financial burden on private hospitals in the region is due to several issues, including:
- Overcrowding at and closures of public facilities;
- Smaller community hospitals treating fewer patients;
- Insurers paying lower rates to smaller facilities;
- New state requirements on nursing ratios that have increased labor costs for hospitals; and
- State seismic retrofit laws that are proving costly for hospitals to comply with.
Some experts argue that financially strained hospitals should cut unprofitable services such as EDs and obstetric and psychiatric units rather than filing for bankruptcy protection or closing (Costello/Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 9/23). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.