Unpaid Bills Will Detract From Hospital Earnings
Analysts predict that unpaid medical bills will continue to "cut deeply" into hospital profits in 2007, the Tennessean reports.
Robert Hawkins, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, said unpaid bills will continue to be problematic for hospitals because "the uninsured and underinsured population is growing faster than hospitals can boost admissions or raise prices to insurers."
William Bonello, an analyst with Wachovia Securities, said the debt is an "across-the-board phenomenon," adding, "I don't see something happening in the near term ... to make things better."
According to the Tennessean, bad debt has affected stock prices of publicly traded hospital companies.
In a research note, Hawkins wrote, "Can hospitals outrun bad debt? The short answer is ... no" (Pack, Tennessean, 1/4).