MHA President & CEO Rich Rasmussen’s Weekly Update 09.16.22
AHA Hosts State Issues Forum
This week MHA participated in the AHA’s State Issues Forum and gathering of the state and metropolitan hospital associations. The meeting provided an opportunity for state association leaders to gather and coordinate approaches to the healthcare challenges that lie ahead. Additionally, AHA briefed the state associations on a number of outstanding issues before Congress and the Administration.
Workforce, behavioral health and hospital financial challenges continue to dominate the agenda in every state. This week AHA released its Fall 2022 Update on The Current State of Hospital Finances. You can download the report HERE. The report continued to show that hospital margins remain under pressure resulting in a 37% reduction from pre-pandemic levels. In fact, more than half of hospitals are projected to experience negative margins through 2022. As expected, expenses continue to remain at record highs with labor expenses expected to increase by $86 billion and non-labor expenses to rise by $49 billion in 2022.
Clearly the financial headwinds which are hitting hospitals present difficult challenges for healthcare leaders. The discussion over workforce was equally troublesome as the country faces its biggest shortage of healthcare workers in decades. With Congress unlikely to make any major investments in offsetting hospital financial stress, the need to elevate our voices with elected leaders is critical to protecting access to healthcare services for all communities.
Difficulty in discharging patients to long-term care, payment denials and delay practices by health plans and regulatory overreach are some of the other issues raised by the state hospital associations and AHA. Although the hill looks steep at this time, the hospital field is united across the country to address the head winds hospitals are experiencing. On the state level, we need to share our concerns with lawmakers and take the time to brief them on operational and financial pressures healthcare providers are experiencing. Please let us know how we can assist you and your team in your advocacy messaging.
The “tip of the spear” in a successful advocacy strategy begins at the local level. MHA can provide you with the tools to strengthen your outreach, but the need to engage is now.