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Indiana hospitals report losing about $3B since the start of 2021

Indiana health systems report paying more for drugs and for critical medical supplies like syringes, gloves and protective gear.
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Indiana health systems report paying more for drugs and for critical medical supplies like syringes, gloves and protective gear.

Indiana hospitals are feeling the effects of rising costs and an unprecedented workforce crisis, according to a new survey from the Indiana Hospital Association.

Seven Indiana-based health systems responded to the survey, which asked about hospital finances and spending since the start of 2021.

The health systems reported they’ve experienced financial losses totaling about $3 billion.

Hospitals are spending more to hire travel nurses and also retain critical staff. Nearly 70 percent of hospitals reported travel nurse expenses increasing more than 20 percent. More than half reported they’ve increased salaries and benefits by 15 percent or more, and an additional third said labor costs have increased nearly 30 percent since the start of 2021.

Health systems are also paying more for drugs and for critical medical supplies like syringes, gloves and protective gear.

Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor said in a statement that the challenges Indiana hospitals face are incredibly daunting.

“These financial impacts are hitting while hospitals are rebuilding from the peak of the pandemic, which stretched our resources beyond belief just earlier this year,” Tabor said.

A dozen of Indiana’s 54 rural hospitals are at risk of closure – and seven are at immediate risk – due to financial losses and low financial reserves, according to the latest report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform, which cites data from July 2022.

Since 2005, more than 170 rural hospitals have closed in the U.S., and two of those were in Indiana.

Contact Side Effects Public Media managing editor Christine Herman at cherman@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @CTHerman.

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