Current Weather
The Spy FM

Bad Economy May Be Leading To Less Surgery

Filed by KOSU News in Health.
July 26, 2011

HCA Holdings, the biggest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S., reported lower earnings than expected Monday.

And one of the reasons might surprise you: some people appear to be forgoing surgery, in part, because of hard economic times.

When the company looked at surgical admissions hospital by hospital, it found they declined 1.6 percent in the U.S. in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. Inpatient surgeries took a bigger hit than outpatient cases, but both were down.

By contrast, admissions to HCA hospitals for all reasons increased about 1.9 percent in the quarter, when measured on a same-hospital basis. And visits to emergency rooms were up even more, rising 4.5 percent in the quarter.

Medicare payments to the company were down 1.3 percent per case, a decline that was due to fewer surgeries.

What gives?

“Executives listed a handful of causes for the surgical weakness including economic softness,” the Wall Street Journal reported. While a decline in market share was another possible explanation, the Journal said the HCA doesn’t think that’s the reason.

“What I’m particularly worried about is that this could be another systemic issue related to the economy that could spell trouble…” Arthur Henderson, an analyst at Jefferies & Co., told Bloomberg News. He said it wasn’t entirely clearly if the economy was to blame or patients went to other hospitals. Earnings reports from other hospitals in the next few weeks could provide the answer. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

4PM to 5PM Weekend All Things Considered

Weekend All Things Considered

Listen Live Now!

5PM to 7PM American Routes

American Routes

Hosted by Nick Spitzer, American Routes is a two-hour weekly excursion into American music, spanning eras and genres—roots rock and soul, blues and country, jazz, gospel and beyond.

View the program guide!

7PM to 9PM The Oklahoma Rock Show

The Oklahoma Rock Show

The Oklahoma Rock Show filters through dozens of submissions a week to find the best in new local music. Ryan LaCroix is the host and mastermind behind the show and teaches at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO).

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center