Um, wonder what that does to the theory that the best place to look for a job these days is in the nursing field?
NYTimes: While the full effects of the downturn are likely to become more evident in coming months as more people lose their jobs and their insurance coverage, some hospitals say they are already experiencing a fall-off in patient admissions.
Some patients with insurance seem to be deferring treatments like knee replacements, hernia repairs and weight-loss surgeries — the kind of procedures that are among the most lucrative to hospitals. Just as consumers are hesitant to make any sort of big financial decision right now, some patients may feel too financially insecure to take time off work or spend what could be thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses for elective treatments.
Looks like fat is going to be the new thin!
The possibility of putting off an expensive surgery or other major procedure has now become a frequent topic of conversation with patients, said Dr. Ted Epperly, a family practice doctor in Boise, Idaho, who also serves as president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. For some patients, he said, it is a matter of choosing between such fundamental needs as food and gas and their medical care. “They wait,” he said.
There are some who aren’t waiting.
While the drop-off in patient admissions may still seem relatively slight, hospital executives and consultants say it is already having a profound impact on many hospitals’ profitability. As fewer paying customers show up, there has been a steady increase in the demand for services by patients without insurance or other financial wherewithal, many of whom show up at hospital emergency rooms — which are legally obliged to treat them.
“It’s disproportionately affecting the bottom line,” Mr. Latimer said.
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