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In today's climate, healthcare providers face increased economic, regulatory and competitive pressures, all of which threaten to reduce revenue and squeeze already decreasing margins. Rising bad debt costs due to the uninsured, increased government scrutiny and a rise in hospital consumerism are forcing hospitals to improve clinical, financial and operational performance. The recent downturn in the economy has only exacerbated many of these challenges, driving hospitals to cut costs through layoffs and freezing capital spending - drastic moves and abrupt changes for an industry traditionally seen as insulated from economic woes. These actions may aid in alleviating short-term financial challenges; however, they do very little to help achieve the long-term outcomes of efficient, high-quality healthcare.
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