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Intelligence Report

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, April 11, 2011
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This story was originally published in the March issue of HealthLeaders Magazine

About This Survey: The Planned Capital Expenditures survey was conducted by the HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Unit. It is part of a monthly series of Thought Leadership studies. In December 2010, an online survey was sent to the HealthLeaders Media Council and select members of the HealthLeaders Media audience. Respondents work in a hospital or health system setting. A total of 277 completed surveys are included in the analysis. The margin of error for a sample size of 277 is +/- 5.9 percentage points. A detailed report and analysis can be found online after March 14 at www.healthleadersmedia.com/intelligence/.

More than 70% of healthcare leaders report the economic crisis has had an impact on their capital projects for 2011 in at least one of several ways: by delaying (48%), eliminating (40%) or sending out projects for rebid (7%). Only 29% said their capital budgets were unaffected by the economic situation. Those are among the results of the HealthLeaders Media Planned Capital Expenditures Survey. As the challenging economic climate continues to force most finance leaders to dig into their budgets and make cuts, the area of planned capital expenditures continues to see the swing of the hatchet.

What’s motivating so many healthcare leaders to delay or eliminate projects? Robin LaBonte, CFO at the 79-staffed-bed York (ME) Hospital, believes much of it has to do with “pure conservatism.” LaBonte says much of the hesitation to spend for capital projects is motivated by the uncertainty surrounding the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“We just don’t know the effect the Patient Protection Act will have on healthcare,” says LaBonte, an advisor for this intelligence report. With more access to care for the uninsured, expanded coverage for families with existing health plans, and the removal of lifetime caps and other insurance provisions, not to mention changes to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, many healthcare leaders are taking a “wait-and-see approach,” she explains.

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