CFOs Eye Brighter Financial Days Ahead

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media , June 27, 2011

Job growth in the healthcare sector continues to show gains, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data. In fact, the healthcare sector consistently has been one of the few job-creating sectors in the recovery. And, The Conference Board monthly review of online job postings consistently shows that there are three jobs available for every skilled healthcare provider.

The GE Capital survey also indicated that 81% of healthcare CFOs expect to hire more employees in the next 12 months, a 20% increase since they were last polled in Q3 2010. Employment isn't the only area in healthcare that's seeing positive changes. Many formerly shelved capital expenditure plans may be put back into action after several years of delay.

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In March, I wrote about how hospitals are cautiously beginning to spend again on capital projects. Naturally, the main expense area is the EMR (perhaps another reason why those Tech CFOs are so giddy about the economy). However back in early January aside from the technology investment, nearly 40% to 50% of healthcare leaders still anticipated delaying or eliminating capital projects for 2011.

"The last 18 months there has been a rebound of the market and investment portfolios, and that's had an impact on the operating side [for hospitals and health systems]," said Greg Pagliuzza, vice president and CFO at Trinity Regional Health System, a four hospital system based in Rock Island, IL whom I interviewed for that article.

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