Anthelio, the Dallas, Texas-based independent provider of comprehensive healthcare information technology (“IT”) services and business process solutions, recently announced results of an original survey completed with Community Hospital 100 to measure the financial health of community and rural hospitals.
Overall, these hospitals, which account for the largest sector of the U.S. healthcare system with 73 percent of the total registered hospitals in the U.S. having 300 beds or less, are having significant financial difficulties. The survey found that a majority of community hospitals surveyed reported having low operating margins and face significant challenges due to rising healthcare costs and lower Medicare / Medicaid reimbursement.
Of those surveyed, 49 percent reported having operating margins below two percent with 38 percent less than one percent, and 22 percent reporting negative operating margins. Only 23 percent of those surveyed reported operating margins more than four percent. The survey also found these community hospitals were getting less reimbursement from Medicare, possessed less cash on hand and faced rising healthcare costs.
Despite all of these struggles, the hospitals continued to invest into healthcare technology according to the survey. 69 percent of community hospitals have acquired and started their EMR implementations with 39 percent spending over $8 million on their EMR implementations.
ICD-10 was more of a mixed bag. Although 95 percent of community hospitals have begun the ICD-9/4010 to ICD-10/5010 conversion process, only 24 percent are currently undergoing remediation. Meanwhile, community hospitals expressed a surprisingly strong interest in participating in HIEs, with 43 percent saying that they are participating in an HIE, plus another 28 percent saying they are not participating, but would like to and 29 percent saying that they are not interested in HIE participation.