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Local Hospitals See Drop In Patient Income As Service Costs Grow

(credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

(credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

CBS Philly (con't)

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By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group that tracks the financial health of hospitals in the state finds many suburban and city hospitals have seen a slight dip in the money they’re taking in — all while expenses continue to climb.

Joseph Martin, executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, says the numbers from last year’s financial reports – the latest available – show some of the region’s hospitals are struggling:

“Some hospitals are experiencing declines in payments now because of high re-admission rates. There are penalties now that are being exacted by the federal Medicare program and the state Medicaid program for above-average re-admission rates.”

Martin says several hospitals continue to accumulate high unreimbursed care expenses from patients without insurance who come to the emergency room for help. But, he says, that could change as more people get insurance through Obamacare:

“Hospitals will start to recoup that money and that should make a difference. That hasn’t really occurred yet since the exchanges have really just gone up in the last couple of months. So, it will be interesting to see in the future we should expect that those uncompensated care numbers should begin to decline.”

Martin says larger hospitals are doing well, including the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He attributes their strong performance to how each responded to consolidation and other extensive changes in health care delivery.

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