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Arkansas hospitals possibly facing closure as they struggle financially

An Arkansas Hospital Association survey done this summer found that 52% of hospitals that responded are operating at a loss.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — The economy has been struggling, and like many businesses, people are facing the hard reality of inflation and staffing shortages.

This includes our hospitals, and the Arkansas Hospital Association said that some hospitals could face closure if something doesn't change.

It's mostly the smaller hospitals that don't have the same resources as our major healthcare systems that could be in danger.

"Mostly they are independent. They don't have reserves that they've built up over the years," said Bo Ryall, President and CDO of Arkansas Hospital Association.

Expenses have increased as shortages and inflation continue, and AHA said that revenue can't keep up with the high costs.

Ryall added that labor, supplies, and pharmaceuticals have all increased by over 20%.

In a report from our news partners, Arkansas Business, an Arkansas Hospital Association survey done this summer found that 52% of hospitals that responded are operating at a loss.

The Department of Human Services has now stepped in. They are asking the American Rescue Plan Act steering committee to dole out $60 million in federal funding to the hospitals in "immediate jeopardy."

That refers to those in danger of running out of cash within the next three months and without the money to cover liabilities.

Hospitals could use the funding for retaining and recruiting healthcare staff.

"Hospitals are still having to recruit very heavily for nurses and other healthcare workers. There is an extreme shortage out there, which makes labor costs go up a lot," explained Ryall.

The steering committee has advanced this proposal, and the Arkansas Legislative Council will review it on Friday, September 16.

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