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MS hospitals having to adjust and cut services to stay open

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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – You’ve probably noticed the price of gas and food has gone up, and hospitals are seeing similar increases that are impacting how they help patients.

“The cost of labor has gone up, the cost of supplies, equipment, food, all that has gone up, but the revenue really has not gone up,” said Robert Roberson with the Mississippi Hospital Association.

According to Roberson, in 2019, the hospital industry was losing $132 million a year, and in 2022, that number is growing.

In response, hospitals must make tough decisions on keeping their doors open for patients.

“We’re already seeing that to some extent in the Jackson metro area,” said Roberson. “I know there’s been some recent coverage with what’s going on at Merit Central. Hospitals are having to look at services that they offer, but if they’re not able to make the revenue that they need to make off of that service to sustain it, they can just no longer afford to continue.”

So what kind of services are being cut? Specialty services such as trauma, labor and delivery, and burn units are the first to go because of the cost of labor and supplies.

“Ultimately, it, you know, it hurts the patients, it hurts all of us in Mississippi when that has to happen,” Roberson said. “But when the choice is to either have no health care services or to maintain some level of services.”

Roberson says now that COVID-19 hospitalizations have taken a dip, now is the time for hospitals to evaluate what stays and what goes.

“They’re continuing to evolve, and we’re finding kind of what that new normal looks like, right now. But the most significant challenge is simply from a revenue perspective,” said Roberson.

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