Arkansas hospitals suffer revenue loss due to inflation

According to our partners at Arkansas Business, CHI St. Vincent expects a loss of $75 million for this fiscal year. But they are not the only ones affected.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Inflation remains a major concern for everyone as prices continue to soar and now this economic crisis is taking its toll on hospitals in Arkansas.

Hot off the heels of hospitals finally beginning to take a two-year hiatus from COVID patients, they are now facing a whole new set of problems.

Expenses are rising, which unfortunately means revenues are falling, according to the CEO of CHI St. Vincent’s Market.

“It’s not sustainable,” said Chad Aduddell, market CEO of CHI St. Vincent.

This causes a costly problem. According to our partners from Arkansas BusinessCHI St. Vincent expects a loss of $75 million for this fiscal year.

Part of that is due to inflation hitting the hospital directly – things like supplies, medicine, and labor all up in the double digits.

“The government is only increasing health care by 2.5% in 2022 and yet you see inflation at 8.5% or 10%, so you don’t have to be an economist to say, ‘d’ Okay, the hospital is falling even further behind,'” Adddell said.

Inflation is also hitting patients and forcing some to choose between health care and the rest of their necessities.

“The cost of gas, the cost of groceries… where they spent their income on other things and now they may not have the money to pay their deductible or coinsurance,” said Addell.

When CHI St. Vincent loses patients, it loses revenue as a result. They predict patient levels are down 5-15% across the hospital system.

And it’s not just CHI St. Vincent either. Other hospitals in the state are also affected, according to Bo Ryall, president and CEO of the Arkansas Hospital Association.

“Every hospital is feeling the pinch right now and planning for even worse in the future,” Ryall told Arkansas Business.

While CHI St. Vincent is a big system with hopes of getting through these tough times, smaller, rural hospitals may not be so lucky.

“A lot of these increases seem to be medium-term, long-term, some of them permanent, and that’s really putting pressure on hospitals. [and] healthcare systems that already had low margins to begin with,” Aduddell said.

He added that the hospital was also facing staffing shortages. Their bed capacity in some parts of the hospital has dropped to only 50% because they don’t have enough nurses.