The American Hospital Association (AHA) has released a new report that details the extraordinary financial pressures continuing to affect hospitals and health systems, as well as access to patient care. The Costs of Caring report found expenses across the board saw double digit increases in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels, including for workforce, drugs, medical supplies, and equipment, as well as other essential operational services like IT, sanitation, facilities management, and food and nutrition services. These factors led to the most financially challenging year for hospitals and health systems since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving over half of hospitals operating at a financial loss at the end of 2022, and with negative operating margins continuing into 2023. This puts access to vital services at risk.
The report found:
Rising costs for drugs, supplies, and labor coupled with sicker patients, longer hospital stays and government reimbursement rates that do not come close to covering the costs of caring for patients have created a dire situation for hospitals and health systems. This is not just a financial problem, it is an access problem. When health care providers cannot afford the tools and teams they need to care for patients, they will be forced to make hard choices, and the people who will be impacted the most are patients. We can’t let that happen. Congress and others must act to preserve the care our nation needs and depends on.AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack
The full report, The Financial Stability of America’s Hospitals and Health Systems Is at Risk as the Costs of Caring Continue to Rise, along with a one-page summary, can be found at AHA. More information on AHA’s congressional asks to support hospitals and health systems can be found on AHA’s Advocacy Agenda page.