Greene County General Hospital is one of the state's 35 critical access hospitals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on nearly every industry’s finances and healthcare is no exception.
New data released today from the Indiana Hospital Association reveals how the pandemic has affected Indiana healthcare systems.
Health systems—especially those in rural communities—are facing significant shortfalls.
Rising drug costs, procuring additional personal protective equipment, changing operating procedures, and decreasing patients in other service lines are all to blame, officials say.
Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes was forced to furlough about 200 workers because patient volumes were down 50 percent during the heart of the pandemic. While officials there say many are back to work and volumes have returned to near-normal Good Samaritan still faces a $18 million shortfall.
When we shut everything down in March, March 18 to be specific. We recognized that we weren’t going to be able to maintain the level of body count that we had before with no volumes coming in," Rob McLin, the President at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes said.
The system, and many like it had books before the pandemic that weren't great because of the way service reimbursement is structured.
"The need to keep up with your technology and keep your employees paid competitively. All of those things for us are a struggle every single day," he said.
Data shows hospitals across the state averaged a negative operating margin of more than 8 percent, but the real struggle comes in rural communities with critical access hospitals.
Indiana’s 35 critical access hospitals reported spending nearly 30 percent more than they made.
Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor says if action isn’t taken to help these facilities, cuts and closures could be inevitable.
"If some of these small, rural hospitals or even some of our urban safety net hospitals if they start to falter, there isn’t that same level of strength [present anymore]," Tabor said.
Data shows emergency room visits in Indiana hospitals fell by 40 percent in April. In addition to lower patient volumes, hospitals reported paying ten times more for masks.
Tabor and hospitals are hoping government can make additional financial resources available. He also says ensuring Hoosiers have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid expansion programs like the Health Indiana Plan are important to ensure the financial well-being of hospitals.
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