A new report issued by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) finds that as more people in Oregon have become insured, the financial standing of most hospitals has improved. Across Oregon’s hospitals, operating margins have increased, while uncompensated care decreased.
The Highlights report—-issued for the first time this year—-also finds that hospital revenue has increased under the Affordable Care Act.
Each year OHA is required to collect financial data from acute care hospitals under ORS 442.400-442.463, providing an annual snapshot of the healthcare needs of Oregon communities and assessing the fiscal health of hospitals under the ACA.
The report, “Oregon Acute Care Hospitals: Annual Financials Reporting Highlights,” aims to provide a transparent source of healthcare information and inform policy conversations.
“This data shows us that the new healthcare environment is providing more people access to affordable care while improving the financial stability of hospitals in Oregon,” said Lynne Saxton, director of the OHA. “Hospitals are a critical part of our healthcare delivery system, and their financial viability ensures that essential community services are delivered effectively and efficiently. This report provides patients and policymakers an accessible and transparent vantage point for exploring future opportunities.”
Major changes to Oregon’s healthcare system in 2014 impacted charity care services provided by Oregon hospitals. As the ACA increased access to health care coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility and the health insurance exchange, the proportion of uninsured individuals in Oregon fell sharply from 14.5 percent to 5.3 percent (Oregon Health Insurance Survey, 2013 and 2015). This significantly reduced the need for financial assistance and charity care as more people became insured and the cost of services provided to them were recouped by hospitals.
According to the data provided in the report between 2014 and 2015:
* Uncompensated care—-a combination of charity care and bad debt—-dropped by $342 million, or 38.4 percent.
* Net hospital income in Oregon increased $367 million, or 53.8 percent.
* Oregon hospitals’ operating margins increased nearly 35%. Operating margins indicate whether a hospital is operating at a profit or loss.
* Overall, rural hospitals experienced more fluctuation in income and operated with tighter margins from 2010-2015, however, all hospital types had greater net income in 2015.
The report is available as a PDF file and as a data file on the OHA Health Analytics website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/analytics/Pages/index.aspx, linked to as “Hospital Financial Report.”