Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Economy Saps Hospital’s Earnings As Patients Avoid Treatment
Reuters: The slow economy is infiltrating the hospital sector, too. "As the economic downturn drags on and the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, patients who have lost private insurance coverage or watched their co-payments and deductibles spike up are simply not getting medical care at the rate they once did." Especially hard-hit treatment areas include elective orthopedic procedures such as joint replacements and spinal fusion. Makers of devices for such procedures are also suffering, as are hospital chains. Tenet Healthcare's chief executive said Tuesday: "As we are deep into the recession, it's clear that patients who have a significant personal financial responsibility are behaving very differently than patients who don't" (Kelly, 11/2).
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