Indiana hospitals suffer toughest financial year since pre-pandemic

INDIANA – It poses a growing threat to the healthcare system and could impact how you are treated.

Hospitals across the state faced major financial difficulties in 2022.

“Hospitals in Indiana have suffered significant financial damage, and there is very little relief in sight,” said Erik Swanson, senior vice president of data and analytics.

Brian Tabor, the president of the Indiana Hospital Association, said the financial state is a real threat to health care and access across the state.

“There are challenges in accessing the services that hospitals provide. It’s a very uncomfortable situation, but when you have to make decisions in a tough financial environment, we worry about closing care facilities,” said Brian Tabor.

Industry officials took time out Wednesday to share how serious the threat to Hoosiers is.

“2022 was the worst year for hospital finances since the pandemic began,” Swanson said.

Hospital officials blame the growing number of expenses and a surge in costs for just about everything from care to staff salaries growing much faster than revenue.

The Indiana Hospital Association says labor, medical supplies, medications and other services increased by $3.2 billion during that time due to inflation and other external factors, which exceeds revenue.

The median hospital operating margin for the state of Indiana was at or below the national median each year, according to the report.

“There are no quick fixes for us,” said Carol Dozier, IHA CEO.

Total operating income for Indiana hospitals fell $1.2 billion below pre-pandemic levels.

What does this mean for Hoosiers?

Hospital officials say they fear they will have to close care facilities because they simply don’t have the money to keep them open.

“Hospitals and hospitals in Indiana will not compromise on quality. Each patient is our responsibility and our privilege to take care of them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Tabor said.

It’s a concern for some Hoosiers.

“I just think of all the people that could really use that care and won’t be able to get that care, and it really cuts deep,” Indianapolis resident Mason Loughman told WRTV.

Just last year, Ascension St. Vincent closed 11 emergency care centers, Bedford Hospital and nine practice locations in Bedford and Mitchell.

The network announced late last month that 11 more care facilities will close within 90 days.

They cited a toll through the pandemic.

“I know the people that are in the system are doing their best, but I think the whole thing[system] absolutely needs to be overhauled,” said Shelbi Williams of Indianapolis.

Hospital officials also discussed issues related to hospital staffing.

They cite a “mass exodus” of healthcare professionals. Many healthcare facilities are trying to combat the problem by working with local colleges to get students into their hospitals.

Officials say there is no quick fix to the problems facing hospital systems.

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