Report: Hawaii hospitals lose $63 million per year on waitlisted patients

Hawaii spends more than $63 million on patients who are unable to receive the specialized care it needs.

Hospitals with limited equipment, personnel and resources might not be able to provide the best care for patient with acute medical problems, but they do allow them to stay until they are better. The problem with this solution is that it may cost the practice thousands of dollars per day, according to a study from the Hawaii Health Information Corporation (HHIC).

The Aloha State may be known for its pristine beaches and warm weather, but its residents face an ongoing health-related problem. Many of its health care facilities are struggling to make ends meet because they are housing patients who no longer need their care, but don't have any other options to visit specialty or mental health clinics. Even though 82 percent of the cost is covered by the state's government or Medicare, that's a $51.4 million net loss, the Pacific Business Journal reported.

"What we found is that ultimately, hospitals bear the cost of waitlisted patients," HHIC CEO Peter Sybinsky said in a statement on its findings. "Until more funded community-based treatment alternatives are available, the data indicates we will continue to see unnecessary and inefficient use of Hawaii's most expensive health care resources."

Although data from HHIC's report compares information from 2006 through 2011, these figures may illustrate a problem that might also be happening in hospitals in rural communities or run by a smaller staff.

"They have their patients' interests at hand," Sybinsky added. "A for-profit hospital may not keep a person on a waitlist if they're not going to get paid for it."

Accounts receivable services that work for practices with a patient waitlist issue can alleviate these outstanding accounts with the support of medical claims management. These professionals will do their part to negotiate with patients and insurance providers to identify a payment plan that works best.