When the economy took a nosedive last year, everyone began to feel the economic fallout. Now, not just auto dealers and retailers are feeling the pinch. The recession has affected healthcare organizations, too.
Sources report that healthcare organizations are reducing travel and education spending, deferring raises, and freezing expenditures on any costs unrelated to direct patient care. Recent reports also indicate two service areas in particular— elective services and infection control—have been affected by the recession.
Consumers are postponing elective surgeries, such as joint replacements and weight loss and cosmetic surgeries. The effect on hospital-wide patient admissions, outpatient and inpatient, is likely to be highest in geographic areas with increased levels of:
- Insured with higher premiums and co pays
A reduction in the more profitable ambulatory and elective surgical services coupled with an increase in costly high-acuity emergency and medical inpatient admissions may force hospitals to revise service strategies to sustain financial security and growth.
The economy is also taking a toll on infection-control resources and services. A survey conducted by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) found:
- 41% of respondents reported cuts in the infection-control budget in the past 18 months
- 24% of reported curtailed surveillance activities
- Cuts in educational funding and staffing have occurred
APIC suggests that hospitals work to:
- Study the cost impact to the organization of healthcare-linked infections
- Use adequate resources and proven techniques in all areas of the hospital
- Engage healthcare leaders in making infection control an organization-wide priority
For the full survey report, visit the APIC website.