Rhode Island hospitals posted a nearly $59 million dollar operating loss in 2013. That’s just one aspect of a troubling economic picture emerging in a new report on the state of the state’s hospitals.
The Hospital Association of Rhode Island says eight of Rhode Island’s 11 acute care hospitals posted operating losses last year. The association chalks up the red ink to the increasing costs of providing care as well as the amount of free care hospitals had to provide to poor patients. That topped $192 million dollars last year, according to the report.
This year, more Rhode Islanders will have some form of health insurance under Obamacare, but it’s not yet clear how many were previously uninsured. It’s also not yet clear how that will affect hospitals’ bottom lines.
They face even more uncertainty in the state’s proposed budget, which would eliminate a special payment to hospitals that’s supposed to make up the difference between what Medicare and Medicaid pay. Those trends are partly behind some of the consolidation we’ve seen in the state’s hospital landscape.