Japan Hospitals in Red as Labor Costs Rise: Govt Survey

Politics Lifestyle Economy

Tokyo, Nov. 13 (Jiji Press)--The profit margin at hospitals in Japan, excluding psychiatric institutions, came to minus 2.7 pct on average in fiscal 2018 as labor costs ballooned reflecting an increase in medical workers, a health ministry survey showed Wednesday.

Still, the reading for the year that ended last March marked an improvement of 0.3 percentage point from fiscal 2017, according to the Survey on Economic Conditions in Health Care. The profit margin represents gross profit divided by revenue.

The survey results, submitted to the Central Social Insurance Medical Council, which advises the health minister, the same day, will be used as basic data for a fiscal 2020 revision of medical fees including prescription drug prices under health insurance programs.

The Japan Medical Association and other organizations are increasingly calling for a hike in fees paid to cover labor costs for doctors and other expenses. The ministry is considering offsetting a possible hike in such fees with a cut in drug prices in order to bring down the overall amount paid to hospitals and clinics. It will hold negotiations with the Finance Ministry for agreement toward the end of this year.

The ministry survey showed that private hospitals logged a positive profit margin of 2.8 pct on average in fiscal 2018. On the other hand, the rates at national and other public hospitals went deeper into negative territory, standing at minus 2.3 pct and 13.2 pct, respectively.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press