Virginia’s Hospitals’ Financial Strength Improves

A new study by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy shows that the overall finances of Virginia hospitals have substantially improved between the numbers published in 2016 (for FY 2015) and those in December 2017 (for FY 2016). The study may be found by clicking here.

Using numbers posted on the Virginia Heath Information website (www.vhi.org ), the Institute compared the figures with those posted in previous years. Those numbers demonstrated that hospital profits increased by 13.86% between FY 2015 and 2016 (the most recent numbers available) and the net worth of Virginia’s hospitals increased 8.1%.

More important is the bigger picture: Since 2012, hospital profits have risen from $1.58 billion to $2.15 billion, hospital net worth has risen from $14.75 billion to $19.3 billion, and the number of hospitals operating at a deficit has fallen from 42 to 28.

These are numbers for an industry in a strong financial position. Yet, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) continues to vigorously argue that hospitals need monopoly-type protections provided by Certificate of Public Need (COPN) laws that limit competition which would lower healthcare costs. And this huge corporate lobbying arm supports Medicaid expansion, again tying that expansion to the financial needs of the hospitals.

We don’t question that some hospitals are struggling and our report clearly shows that. But the industry as a whole is doing quite well. In all regions of the state, the hospital industry remains profitable, and all regions had increases in their net worth as well. Even the hospitals in Southwest Virginia are doing much better with profits up an incredible 36%.

As our elected officials debate opening more competition into the healthcare system through reforming the outdated COPN laws and the expansion of Medicaid beyond its original intent, we hope that this report will help bring important facts to the table.

The graphs below show the financial progress of Virginia hospitals over the past five years, during a time of a devastatingly sluggish economy in the Commonwealth. Our hospitals have made substantial financial progress as these numbers show.

The study may be found on the Thomas Jefferson Institute website by clicking here.

As their own numbers show, our hospital industry as a whole continues to improve year over year as it has since we started looking at these numbers, starting with those in 2012. With hospitals doing so well overall, and healthcare costs continuing to rise, it seems that bringing more competition into the healthcare system makes a lot of sense for our citizens.

And as the debate over expanding Medicaid to more than 400,000 people heats up, these numbers show that the hospitals don’t need an expansion for financial reasons.

Thompson
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About Mike Thompson

Michael Thompson is currently the Chairman and President of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, the state’s premier independent public policy foundation that has gained broad based respect from political and business leaders throughout Virginia. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Thomas Jefferson Institute or its Board of Directors.
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