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2012 may have been ‘high water mark’ for hospital finances, Fitch says
Modern Healthcare

The operating performance of not-for-profit hospitals and health systems rated by Fitch Ratings improved in 2012. But last year may be the “high water mark” for hospital finances as demand from patients grows increasingly weak and reimbursement cuts continue, a Fitch analyst warns.

The median operating margin among Fitch Ratings’ portfolio of not-for-profit hospital operators was 3% in 2012. That’s compared with 2.7% the prior year and 2.7% on average since 2006. Tight control over expenses and efforts to reduce operating waste helped bolster hospital margins, Fitch said in a newly released report. Profits also grew as hospitals did more to collect bills. Some benefited from market clout as well, the report said.

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