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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Impact of Economic Downturn on Health Care

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Even though Texas is weathering the economic downturn better than many parts of the country, we are feeling the effects of this recession. Texas Health hospitals serve as a sort of barometer for the economic climate of North Texas. Our hospitals, like many across the nation, have seen an increase in the number of patients without insurance, and a decrease in the number of patients seeking elective treatments.

A recent survey by the American Hospital Association said that six out of 10 hospitals nationwide are seeing a greater proportion of patients without insurance seeking treatment through emergency departments. The majority of hospitals also reported that fewer patients are seeking inpatient and elective services. Many hospitals are seeing more patients covered by Medicaid and other public programs for those in need.

One major reason for concern is that people are putting off needed care, and that could lead to more serious conditions that require more expensive treatment later.

Employees and employers alike want to avoid additional medical expenses. That’s all the more reason for seeking early treatment, adopting healthy habits and encouraging others in your company and your family to do the same.

For our faith-based family of hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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