Charlie Hall, executive vice president and CFO at Piedmont Healthcare, a 481-bed not-for-profit hospital in Atlanta, muses that “In years past we always thought of hospitals as being recession-proof, but the fact is this has been going on for almost four years, and this time it’s different.”
“Georgia has not come back, particularly Atlanta. In some parts of the country there is 5% unemployment, but we happen to be at 11% unemployment,” he says. “And there’s going to be a lot more than 11% [unemployment] if things don’t turn around. I think we could easily slip into a second recession. I think we’ve been in a downturn for a long time.”
So will there be a double-dip recession? When I looked at this possibility back in 2009, President Obama remarked that if the nation kept adding to deficit spending through tax cuts or more stimulus spending, a second downturn could be the result. Here we are two years later, and economic fundamentals have not improved. Healthcare financial leaders would be wise to batten down the hatches even more.