Industry Outlook 2005
HOSPITALS: Manpower and Money
The November passage of Amendment 8, known as the "three strikes you are out" amendment, will hinder the already difficult staffing of Florida's hospital trauma centers, says Ralph Glatfelter, senior vice president of the Florida Hospital Association. Florida trauma centers, which are still reeling from Gov. Jeb Bush's veto of $21 million in dedicated state funding, are facing the dual challenges of finding a stable funding source to support a statewide system and recruiting and retaining specialists, particularly neurosurgeons.
Along with trauma center operations, hospitals are looking for ways to mitigate the cost of indigent and unreimbursed care, which the FHA says costs $2 billion a year. "I think there is enough money in the healthcare system. We just have to use it efficiently," says Glatfelter.
2005 Forecast: "We're encouraged, but we're not naive" concerning state trauma center funding, says John Hillenmeyer, president and CEO of Orlando Regional Healthcare, a private non-profit that operates seven hospitals and one of the six Level 1 trauma centers in the state. "Clearly they are not going to raise taxes," he says of Florida legislators, warning, "If there's not some funding relief, I think you are going to see trauma centers close."