Not Even Healthcare Is Recession Proof

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Akron's Summa Health System announced this week that it was freezing wages and scaling back some building projects in an effort to cut costs. Summa Health is a group of hospitals that serve the Greater Akron area, and its economic woes are part of an overall trend in healthcare being felt across the state, according to a survey by the Ohio Hospital Association. Summa says it has no current plans to lay people off, OHA's Tiffany Himmelreich says many other hospitals plan to do just that.

TIFFANY HIMMELREICH: What we found is that a little over a third of hospitals are making the tough choice to lay employees off in the next six months. About 40% have enacted some sort of hiring or salary freeze, and about 29% are canceling or delaying construction projects.

One particular concern for healthcare facilities in Akron, Cleveland and elsewhere across Ohio is the increase in "charity care" cases. Himmelreich says, over the past year, hospitals in the state have seen a 41% increase in patients who have lost their healthcare coverage due to job loss.

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