Hospitals struggle to keep costs down - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hospitals struggle to keep costs down

SGMC's Ray Snead SGMC's Ray Snead
VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta was continuing to try Wednesday to find ways to keep up with the increasing cost of healthcare.

"As a society, we've decided that we're not going to pay anymore for healthcare. The revenues are flat or decreasing, but the expenses are increasing," said SGMC Interim CEO, Dr. Ray Snead.

Dr. Snead said that has created the problem that SGMC and other hospitals in South Georgia and across the country were currently stuck with, trying to find ways to continue to provide high quality care with less money coming in.   

He said demand on hospitals to care for patients who cannot afford the care continues to increase. He said that reduces the amount of money hospitals can spend on updates and upgrades as new technology becomes available and as drugs used to treat patients become more expensive.

"When a hospital has operating margin problems, it has constrained its ability to keep itself as current as possible for providing care to patients," Dr. Snead explained.

Finding ways to make patient care more efficient and cutting overhead are two ways he planned to combat this problem. He said that does not include cutting jobs, but that likely will include not refilling a position when someone leaves. "We're taking a very hard look at every single opportunity where turnover occurs to not continue to fill positions."

While that may help take some financial stress off SGMC, Snead suggested that without broader changes to the healthcare system, the relief may only be temporary.

Dr. Snead said that as of Wednesday there was no timeline for when a permanent CEO would be chosen, but he said it would likely not be any time soon.

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