Washington hospitals report $929M loss over 3 months

Washington State Hospital Association reported a $929 million net loss due to an increase in operating expenses and nonoperating investment losses, The News Tribune reported July 21. 

The review reflected January through March 2022 and showed operating revenue increased by 5 percent; however, operating expenses increased by 11 percent. 

“This combined with non-operating investment losses, resulted in a total margin of negative 13 percent,” WSHA said in a briefing of the review July 21. 

The losses were mainly seen in urban Washington hospitals, though rural hospitals were also affected. 

“All 52 urban hospitals/health systems reported negative margins and account for 86 percent of the losses statewide,” WSHA said. “Of the independent rural hospitals responding, 18 out of 32 had negative margins.”

WSHA said lower Medicaid reimbursements were part of the problem. In the first quarter, Medicaid reimbursements covered 42 percent of the cost of care delivery. 

Pandemic pressures also had a negative effect, according to WSHA. It said federal COVID-19 relief funds have been depleted. 

Additionally, WSHA said labor costs have continued to rise because of a need to retain staff and a reliance on travel nurses with high wages. 

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