NJ hospitals barely break even

    Medical centers in the Garden State aren’t pulling in much profit, according to new data from the New Jersey Hospital Association. WHYY reports on the industry’s ailing financial health.

    Medical centers in the Garden State aren’t pulling in much profit, according to new data from the New Jersey Hospital Association. WHYY reports on the industry’s ailing financial health.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091203tehospital.mp3]

    More than a third of New Jersey hospitals lost money in 2008. And as a group the industry posted a 0.2% profit margin. That’s how much the hospitals say they had in reserve at the end of the year. Association spokeswoman Kerry McKean Kelly.

    Kelly: So when you see an operating margin of 0.2%, that means you barely broke even, you’ve barely covered your bills, and you have very little left to reinvest back into the facilities or health care services.

    Kelly says reimbursement from New Jersey’s charity care program and government programs like Medicare don’t cover the cost of caring for patients. A representative for the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union agrees that hospitals need better pay, but she says over-ambitious building projects have also weakened hospital finances. Jeanne Otersen is policy director for the union.

    Otersen: Hospitals who in more successful times had huge expansion plans and built bigger and bigger wings, more and more beds, thinking that if they build it, they will come and it didn’t happen.

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