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Hospitals are only separate from private medical practices by virtue of their specialty and operations, not their economic disposition.

New data from the American Hospital Association indicates that not only are elective procedures down, but also overall admissions as well.  Additionally, the data indicate that there is a significant increase in the number of patients who can’t afford the cost of their care.

These data should catch the attention of private practice owners and administrators throughout the country as hospitals feel the same pains as private medical clinics when patients delay care or have a difficult time paying for services rendered.

This article from Yahoo News speaks to this new data made available by the American Hospital Association.

67 percent of hospitals saw some drop in elective procedures; 6 percent saw a significant drop.

63 percent saw some decline in overall admissions; 9 percent saw a bigger drop.

Inpatient and outpatient surgeries and emergency department visits were all down roughly 1 percent in the third quarter.

Half of hospitals have seen a moderate or significant jump in uncompensated care, with a jump averaging 8 percent. The association cites unemployed people losing their health insurance.

Total profit margin at the Database hospitals dropped from an average 6.1 percent in 2007’s third quarter to an average loss of 1.6 percent in 2008’s third quarter.

56 percent of hospitals are reconsidering or postponing renovations or expansions, and about 40 percent are delaying improvements to information technology or other equipment.

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Click here or call (888) 827-5613 for information on a free program dedicated to helping private practices throughout the U.S. strategically adjust to the slowing economy.  Free program runs through March 31st, 2009 and is open to practice owners and administrators of any healthcare discipline.

Tannus Quatre PT, MBA is a practice consultant and principal with Vantage Clinical Solutions, Inc., a national healthcare consulting and management firm located on the west coast.  Tannus can be reached through the Vantage Clinical Solutions website by clicking here.