Economic downturn affects St. Louis-area hospitals

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 25, 2008
SSM Healthcare-St. Louis recently announced another round of departures, another example of hospitals facing increasing pressure to improve care while cutting costs. In addition, quality directives from managed-care companies and the government are coming with slight, if any, increases in payment. St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Mary Jo Feldstein notes that one source of the economic problems facing hospitals is that as health plans raise the patients' portion of their medical bills and more families have fewer dollars to spend, some might be holding off on care. The problem is worsened as outpatient and testing services continue to grow and sends more patients out of the hospital for care, Feldstein says.

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