HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of healthcare market intelligence, reports hospitals within the Albany metropolitan market continue to strive for profitability, but blame inadequate Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for their prolonged struggle. According to the latest Albany Market Overview report, profit margins for these hospitals have improved since 2004, but not enough to generate earnings to reinvest in their operations.

"Hospitals have been competing for workers at the expense of upgrading their facilities and reimbursement rates obviously have a big impact on this," states Patrick Powers, HealthLeaders-InterStudy market analyst. "Fundraising has become crucial to area hospitals, as most have either recently completed or begun large capital campaigns to renovate and expand facilities."

Albany-area hospital executives say the primary reason their profitability falls short of the national average is the Medicare wage index, which is one of the lowest in the nation. The area's major hospitals have formed a coalition to request an adjustment to the rate, which would mean that hospitals could put more money into technology and other improvements. The coalition has yet to make progress with either the Congress or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

During this year's legislative season, an epic battle ensued over Medicaid. Gov. George Pataki, noting that New York's Medicaid costs were among the highest in the nation, presented a budget with $1 billion worth of cuts to hospitals and nursing homes. The Legislature passed its own budget without the cuts and with an increase in the Medicaid emergency department rates and a rate increase for emergency-room physicians. In turn, the governor then vetoed the healthcare funding, but the Legislature then overrode his veto.

  Other news in the Albany healthcare market:   * A survey of Capital District employers showed that healthcare premiums     rose in 2005; it was the sixth straight year of increases.   * The state's 3 million uninsured can expect little relief after various     bills that would have required certain companies to provide health     insurance for workers stalled in the state Legislature.    About Market Overviews 

Market Overviews provide a detailed analysis of local healthcare markets, allowing healthcare businesses to plan their local strategies.

About HealthLeaders-InterStudy

HealthLeaders-InterStudy is the authoritative source for managed care data, analysis, and news. For more information, please visit http://www.healthleaders-interstudy.com/.

  For more information, contact:   Kelly Morphy   HealthLeaders-InterStudy   615-369-4818   kmorphy@healthleaders-interstudy.com 

SOURCE: HealthLeaders-InterStudy

CONTACT: Kelly Morphy of HealthLeaders-InterStudy, +1-615-369-4818,
kmorphy@healthleaders-interstudy.com

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