PA Hospital Employment Drops, Survey Shows Cuts in Services And Jobs—Hospitals Urge Stability to Protect Access to Care
March 26, 2014
Hospital jobs, services, and capital projects are at risk
according to recent data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor &
Industry and a survey conducted this month by The Hospital & Healthsystem
Association of Pennsylvania (HAP).
Labor & Industry hospital employment statistics show
that hospitals shed 3,900 jobs in the past year (February 2014 as compared to
HAP’s survey of general acute care hospitals finds that many
hospitals have, or plan to, freeze hiring (67%), lay off current staff (49%),
cancel or delay needed renovation or building projects (51%), and cut health
care services (41%). Survey responses
included 104 (63%) of the state’s 164 general acute care hospitals
“Pennsylvania hospitals confront a changing and uncertain
health care environment, mounting federal payment cuts, and an economy that is
still struggling,” said Andy Carter, HAP President and CEO.
“As hospitals work to transform the delivery system, they
need stability in federal Medicare and Medicaid payments in order to make
needed improvements without jeopardizing Pennsylvanians’ access to health
care,” said Carter.
Successive waves of federal budgetary actions have reduced
hospital payments since 2010. More recently, from 2013 through the end of 2014,
Pennsylvania hospitals will have had their Medicare payments cut by about $800
million. Pennsylvania hospitals are expected to lose nearly $10 billion over
the next decade.
In addition, two Medicare policies (the Medicare-Dependent
Small Rural Hospital program and Low-Volume Hospital Adjustment) crucial to the
fiscal viability of Pennsylvania’s rural hospitals are set to expire on March
Carter urged Congress to extend support for rural hospitals
and cautioned federal lawmakers not to use hospital payment cuts to fund
much-needed reforms to the Sustainable Growth Rate, the dysfunctional formula
that sets Medicare physician payments. “Hospitals simply cannot afford any more
payment reductions,” said Carter.
Carter noted that the Corbett Administration’s proposed
2014–2015 state budget takes important steps toward providing hospitals with
stability and predictability from a state fiscal perspective.
“We urge state lawmakers to preserve and protect hospital
payments in the upcoming budget,” said Carter. He also called on the federal
government to approve Pennsylvania’s Healthy PA waiver to increase access to
health insurance for low-income, uninsured Pennsylvanians.