Around 45% of the hospitals in Wallonia and Brussels were in the red between 2014 and 2018, L’Echo reported on Saturday.
The paper examined financial data from 38 Walloon and Brussels hospitals and concluded that their financing system needs to be reviewed.
Their analysis also showed that big hospitals are doing slightly better than smaller ones, in terms of solvency, liquidity and profitability. Hospitals are facing more and more challenges and they cost small stakeholders proportionally more.
Competition is higher in Brussels than elsewhere and more of the hospitals there are in debt. The lack of nurses and cost of accommodation forces Brussels hospitals to offer higher salaries, which can have an impact on their finances. The same applies to doctors.
Public financing, fees, pharmaceutical products… hospital financing is complex, obscure and unpredictable. The sector admits a reform would be beneficial, although they are critical of the path chosen by outgoing Public Health minister Maggie De Block (Open Vld). Mainly, they are just crying out for additional resources.
Some have doubts about possible opportunities to improve finances with the current set-up and want the financing system to be overhauled. There are big differences between hospital’s financial situations, which means some likely have organisational problems too.
As for introducing a network to improve cooperation between hospitals, which is planned for 2020, they will have to watch out for ulterior budget motives: the new system will cost money in the short term.