Recent Survey Finds Economic Downturn Taking Toll On Patients And Communities

Posted by Jacqueline Colclough

According to a new survey from the American Hospital Association (AHA), six out of ten hospitals in the United States are seeing a greater proportion of patients without health insurance coming through their emergency departments, while nearly half of hospitals reported that they have reduced staff. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released information confirming that hospital employment is no longer growing and that the number of mass layoffs for hospitals reported in February 2009 was more than double what it was a year ago.

Further, the majority of reporting hospitals disclosed that fewer patients are seeking elective and inpatient services, while many hospitals are seeing more patients covered by Medicaid and other public programs for those in need. The need for hospital-subsidized services such as clinics, screenings and outreach is increasing even as charitable contributions are down for many hospitals.

"Todays findings signal what many of us in health care are concerned about: people put off care when they lose their job, which can complicate health care issues for many down the road," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "At the same time, the fact that hospitals are cutting staff challenges the notion that hospitals are recession-proof."

To view the AHA report in its entirety, please click here.  For more information about your legal rights, please visit us at Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC.

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