PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Almost two-thirds of hospitals in Oregon lost money during the third quarter of 2022, according to a new report by the Oregon Association of Hospital and Health Systems.
This new report marks the third consecutive quarter of hospitals losing money, which the OAHHS said is due to rising labor costs, difficulty discharging patients to other settings, stock market losses and high inflation.
“This report is not just numbers on a page,” said OAHHS President and CEO Becky Hultberg. “There are real consequences to patients when hospitals are losing this much money. After two full years of heavy losses, hospitals are making painful budget cuts that absolutely impact patient care. Many hospitals are already dipping into their reserves to cover operating expenses, and rising interest rates only raise the cost of borrowing. We need stable, high-functioning hospitals to take care of our loved ones and neighbors, and these ongoing financial challenges pose an existential threat.”
According to the report, costs for payroll and benefits expenses increased continuously over the last three years. Hospitals have been dealing with staffing shortages and the use of contract health workers has increased costs.
Another cause according to the report is that patients requiring longer stays are is putting further strain on the staff and preventing the admissions of more patients.
According to Apprise Health Insights, approximately 700 patients in Oregon are boarding or unable to be discharged from hospitals.
“As I have often said, a local hospital with an open front door and a closed back door does not work even with the best efforts of our teams,” Hultberg said. “As we head into the legislative session, these numbers should create a sense of urgency to address these significant financial challenges, which are affecting patient care.”