Looming reimbursement cuts stifle hospital budgets

A sizable percentage of hospitals expect to reduce their spending on capital projects during 2012 as they confront a variety of budget issues, according to a new survey of 730 hospitals from Premier healthcare alliance.

Premier’s 2012 Economic Outlook indicated that 35 percent of healthcare leaders said their capital budgets declined over the past year–a tougher climate than the 2011 survey, when 28 percent reported a drop, reported DOTmed News.

However, 65 percent of those surveyed believed their budgets remained about the same or have increased compared with 2011. Premier noted that 72 percent of those surveyed last spring reported flat or increased capital budgets.

The survey also found that 76 percent of the healthcare leaders said future reimbursement cuts were dictating most capital budget decisions.

Next year, most of the capital investments will go to information technology and telecommunications, according to more than 40 percent of respondents; 30 percent said the majority would go toward infrastructure.

“The nation’s current debt concerns and looming reductions in reimbursement have, for the most part, slowed hospital spending and increased demand for greater value,” Premier Chief Operating Officer Mike Alkire said in a statement yesterday. “The one exception is HIT, where hospitals are placing a great deal of fiscal and operational focus.”

Premier’s survey also indicated that hospitals are trying to cut costs by standardizing more care.

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