<i>Hospitals demand rational management</i>

If the state’s community hospitals were public companies, they would all be trading as penny stocks by now. Kent Hospital, for example, is hemorrhaging red ink – to the tune of $4.2 million in October and November.
The hospital is tightening its belt, but in the end, nothing will work until our broken health care system is fixed. Only a systemic approach can address the ton of bad debt left when hospitals treat uninsured and underinsured people who will never be able to pay.
But there is one local issue that should be addressed now.
Alternative treatment and diagnostic facilities are taking a growing chunk out of hospital revenue. It’s good, old-fashioned competition, but competition doesn’t work perfectly in every arena. Hospitals need to maintain certain high-cost capabilities in order to function, but as more patients opt for the less-expensive off-campus competitors, the hospitals are left with assets that are not justifying their costs.
If we feel that hospitals are a necessity, then some recognition of this reality needs to be put into the licensing system for competitive facilities.

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