Report: Hospitals hit by capital crunch

The ongoing credit crisis is hurting the ability of U.S. hospitals to secure financing, with nearly half of hospitals putting new capital projects on hold, according to a report released late last month by the American Hospital Association (AHA).

The Chicago-based AHA surveyed CEOs at nonfederal hospitals from late December through January 6, receiving a total of 639 responses. The results weren't pretty.

Nine out of 10 respondents reported that it had become harder or even impossible to access tax-exempt bonds, while other sources of debt, such as banks and other financial institutions, are becoming difficult to access as well. Nine out of 10 also reported that attracting charitable donations is becoming harder.

Of the survey respondents, 45% have postponed capital projects that had been planned to start in six months, while 13% have stopped capital projects already in progress. Of hospitals putting projects on hold, 82% reported delaying facilities projects, 65% have put clinical technology projects on hold, and 62% have put information technology projects on hold.

Among the projects put on hold, respondents reported that 65% were inpatient medical/surgical and 58% were outpatient diagnostic. Emergency or urgent care made up 43% and outpatient surgical made up 40%.

Results of the report can be viewed on the AHA's Web site.

Related Reading

Survey forecasts drop in capital purchasing, December 18, 2008

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