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Will a Recession Impact Community Healthcare?

The big question… what will be impacted during a recession? We break down what will be impacted within the community healthcare industry if a recession were to hit.

Recession or not? That’s the big question for 2023. About 86% of CEOs say they believe a recession is on the way next year. At the same time, 60% of that group say the recession will be short and 71% say they are optimistic about the rebound and economy in the next three years.

But there are plenty of negative and conflicting views from other voices, such as Nouriel Roubini, who correctly predicted the 2008 recession. So, the question of whether the economy will glide, bounce, or crash seems up in the air at this point. However, community healthcare organizations should prepare themselves for the worst, even while hoping for a better outcome. How should you prepare? How will healthcare impact community healthcare? Let’s explore the issue.

What’s the Connection Between the Economy and Community Health

Blue Cross Blue Shield says,“Healthy communities mean a better economy.” For example, the cost of obesityis roughly $350 billion annually. Healthier populations contribute to a healthy economy. Unhealthy populations are a drain on the economy.

The economy affects everything: Employment, access to healthcare, spending and consumerism, and medical costs. But a recession could also signal a serious downturn in the health of our patients.

We know that the demand for healthcare may decline along with reimbursement as patients skip needed procedures to save money during an economic downturn. More patients will struggle to pay, and certainly for-profit and traditional non-profit healthcare facilities will write off more past due accounts. The added stresses will take a toll on our communities, which will in turn increase the volume of patients with serious health complications.

We can look to the 2008 recession and its impact on the FQHC community to determine the impact of another economic downturn. In 2009 and 2010, FQHCs were supplemented and subsidized by cash infusions authorized by Congress. But every community healthcare organization felt the sting during the last recession. It wasn’t just about the economy and reimbursement, either, but the very health of our patients who suffered greatly.

What is the Impact of Recession on Community Healthcare?

The first impact of a recession is potentially a positive one for community healthcare employers. We already know we’re facing staffing shortages in the coming years. However, during a recession, there will be, in theory, more people looking for work. Could that help exacerbate some of the staffing shortages we’re already experiencing?

What about elective surgeries? Could these unnecessary but wanted treatments decline? It makes sense that extra expenditures requiring out-of-pocket costs for patients may decline simply because patients don’t have the money. There will be more no-shows. But in community healthcare, anything that requires out-of-pocket deductibles could be affected.

There could also be reduced demand for some healthcare services across the board. At the same time, expect higher demand on mental health services. We’ll see more patients showing the ill effects of stress. Health outcomes could decline in part because patients end up skipping preventative treatments.

A strong economy means more jobs, better pay, health insurance, and better patient outcomes. If we’re in for a recession next year, now is the time to shore up your resources and prepare for the opposite.

How Can UHC Solutions Help Your FQHC

UHC Solutions is the nation’s top FQHC recruiting partner, and the only recruitment firm that partners exclusively with FQHCs. We can help your organization prepare for the troubling times ahead with behavioral health talent ready to service your patients. Call on us today. We can help.


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Unlock the Latest Salary Trends in Community Healthcare

Download UHC Solutions’ Salary Guide eBook for 2024 salary ranges, key data, insights, and more.