It began almost 250 years ago. Men and women coming together to build schools, hospitals and orphanages. Brave women religious who traveled to the wilds of America to bring health and healing to those working in mines and lumber camps. They worked in the open, in tents and partnered with those being served to build the facilities that would change the landscape of healthcare in America for centuries to come. Wives brought fruit, vegetables, linens and crucial supplies to help care for the sick and injured. This was all done without government support. It was accomplished through private philanthropy and lives dedicated to serving others.
This legacy of philanthropy is seen throughout our communities and in our hospitals across the country. Changes through the years—capitation, private health insurance, government health insurance through Medicaid and Medicare—have been touted as “fixes” for our healthcare system of payment and cost containment. Yet, throughout all of these financial programs the need for philanthropy has steadily increased. The healthcare reform act will not change that need. It will increase it.
Moody’s Investor Service Analyst Sara Vennekotter states that “While median revenue growth showed an uptick…it remained low by historical standards, and will likely fall again in coming years due to tightening federal funding. Inpatient volumes that have been weak due show no growth. For FY 2013 and beyond, we expect lower payments for inpatient procedures from all payers and a continued shift to outpatient services as healthcare reform forces hospitals to operate with less while being required to prove higher quality care. Margins are likely to soften due to the continuous pressure on revenue forcing hospitals to drastically reduce expenses.”1
As 2014 arrives, providers will have to be prepared for an unprecedented influx of new patients. McKesson projects that by 2015, 19 million uninsured people will receive coverage. In 2016, an additional 11 million uninsured people will be knocking on providers’ doors to receive services. McKesson also estimates rising costs of $1,035 trillion between 2014 and 2019, with $201 billion of that to come directly from hospitals. The impact is that the increase in patients will not be enough to offset the negative financial impact of paying for reform.2