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Prefecture hospitals rack up largest deficit in history

Date Posted: 2007-08-09

Okinawa Prefecture owned hospitals registered accumulated deficits of Y51.9 billion in 2006, an increase of Y5 billion from the year before.

The annual Statement of Accounts by the Prefecture Hospitals Operations Services Section Director warned the deficits could bring stern words from the Ministry of Public Management. Kiyoshi Chinen says the cumulative deficit rose from ¥42.1 billion in 2004 to ¥46.8 billion in 2005, and now ¥51.9 billion for 2006.

The Prefecture Assembly had directed the Prefecture Hospitals to reduce the cumulative deficit to ¥20.4 billion in 2006, but the hospitals showed no signs of financial reform. Actual cash shortages in 2006 totaled ¥1.5 billion.

Hospital officials attribute the increases to opening of a new hospital in southern Okinawa last April, and in rising doctor salaries. They say equipping the new children’s hospital required major equipment and setup investments, but note those costs will be recovered in the future.

Chinen says the southern medical center and the children’s hospital will both be profitable businesses. He also says the hospital is trying hard to improve its economic circumstances.

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