Report shows 10% of Texas hospitals face bankruptucy without federal funding
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Rural hospitals across Texas may be at a bigger risk for failure, due to the strain the pandemic has placed on them. This report comes after healthcare workers expressed their growing concern for the shortages that simply never recovered after the pandemic.
John Hawkins the CEO of The Texas Hospital Association says the report clearly shows one in 10 Texas hospitals is at risk for closure. Although many issues factor into that, Hawkins says the biggest one is the workforce pipeline.
“I’ll give you an example we turned away 15,000 qualified nursing students last year because we just don’t have the faculty in our institutions of higher education to train those willing students,” said Hawkins.
The shortage of caregivers goes hand in hand with a shortage of profits, according to the Texas Hospital Association. Hawkins says as many as half of all Texas hospitals operated in the red this year alone.
“Inflationary headwinds particularly related to labor workforce across the state. We are seeing the inflationary impact as well as the impact of workforce shortages on bed capacity across the state,” said Hawkins.
Even prior to the pandemic areas around West Texas struggled to keep up in the healthcare field, Hawkins says this risk is nothing new but is worse.
“If you are in a rural area those hospitals are always at risk of closure. Before the pandemic, Texas actually led the nation in rural in the number of rural hospital closures,” Hawkins said.
During the pandemic, federal funding helped keep hospitals afloat, but now Texas hospitals are drowning in debt, according to the report.
“Relief funding has been very helpful in making sure no hospitals have closed over the last couple of years but that has really just created a fiscal cliff that we are concerned about,” he said.
The concern for Texas healthcare is something Hawkins is asking the legislature to consider in the next session.
“I think the report points out that if we don’t address these issues this is ultimately going to have an impact on patient care across the state,” said Hawkins.
This year alone Texas hospitals spent as much as $33.2 billion more than they did before the pandemic, due to those expenses this report projects rural facilities are five times more likely to close than urban hospitals. The next legislative session will begin on Jan. 10th.
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