Although the global pandemic is officially over, it has left a permanent mark on the health care landscape, reshaping the dynamics of hospitals in the United States. While staffing crises often dominate the headlines, health care institutions face an underlying financial crisis that remains largely underreported.
In 2022, a startling 50% of all U.S. hospitals concluded the year with a negative margin. Due to factors like elective surgical volume challenges, shifts in payer mix, and the migration of high-margin services from inpatient to ambulatory settings, this appears to be a sustained trend rather than an isolated incident. Without intervention, the future for health care institutions looks bleak, with current projections forecasting a 4 to 5 percentage-point drop in operating margins by 2027.