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Friday, June 2, 2023

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A Wisconsin group criticizes two of its members of Congress, a new report says the Phoenix area cannot meet its groundwater demands, and Nevada's sporting community sends its priorities to the governor.

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The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

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Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

Report: Hospitals Struggle Amid Mounting Financial Pressure

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Monday, April 24, 2023   

A new report sheds light on what it calls the "mounting financial pressures" hospitals in Arizona and across the country are facing; pressures it said ultimately affect access to care.

The American Hospital Association found hospital expenses across the board saw double-digit increases last year compared to pre-pandemic levels in categories like workforce, drugs, medical supplies and equipment.

Bharath Krishnamurthy, director of health analytics and policy for The American Hospital Association, said, simply put, "Hospitals are struggling."

"What that really means for patients is the programs and services that hospitals provide are at risk of potentially closing or being limited," Krishnamurthy explained. "Patients' ability to access those services are in jeopardy."

He emphasized the problem is especially critical for rural hospitals which may not be able to afford to offer certain services in their communities, meaning patients would have to travel to get the care they need. The report said more than half of hospitals were operating at a financial loss at the end of 2022, which Krishnamurthy noted is likely to continue this year.

Krishnamurthy pointed out hospitals have faced financial struggles for a number of years, as their overall expenses have increased by 17.5% between 2019 and 2022, far outpacing Medicare reimbursement rates, which increased 7.5% during the same time.

He argued the pandemic exacerbated the financial woes, and the Association believes Congress should step in to help hospitals out.

"They can enact policies that better ensure there is a pipeline of workers in place, so that hospitals can hire staff and fill gaps where needed," Krishnamurthy suggested. "They can ensure that cuts to Medicare reimbursement don't go into effect."

He stressed the administrative tasks required by insurance companies also contribute to rising expenses. According to the report, almost nine in 10 nurses said administrative burdens have negatively affected patients' clinical outcomes.


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