Moody's noted that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission in January recommended a Medicare rate adjustment of 1% for the coming budget cycle, which is less than half the rate of inflation in the overall economy.
Lisa Goldstein, associate managing director at Moody's, told HealthLeaders Media that hospitals have done a good job confronting cost growth. "Low-hanging fruit examples would be reductions in work force, not filling existing positions, matching clinical needs with nursing skill sets better, looking at supply costs, negotiating bigger discounts with vendors, buying in bulk for example," Goldstein says.
However, she believes the "wrenching change" that hospitals may now have to undertake will be considerably more involved.
"'More wrenching change' speaks to the next level of cost reduction and expense management, which is more about gaining efficiencies. That is taking apart the fundamental basic building blocks of patient care and recreating them all over again in a more efficient manner," she says. "We have heard from providers across the country, examining how they deliver healthcare, the processes, the operations, the patient flow to become more efficient and extract permanent savings that way."