SEC should require hospital bed transparency, health expert argues – Becker's Hospital Review


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Bed capacity is an underrated issue. Even if the U.S had enough healthcare workers to care for patients, there likely wouldn’t be sufficient bed space in hospitals for all patients. More transparency around bed capacity, though, may solve this issue, Regina Herzlinger and Richard Boxer, MD, argued in a Feb. 18 Health Affairs article. 
Compared to other developed countries, the U.S has low numbers of hospital beds. Germany, for example, boasts eight beds per 1,000 people, while the U.S has 2.8 beds per 1,000, according to the article. 
To tackle the problem, the authors suggest that hospitals be required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to publish their surge capacity plans. It would require hospitals to report the financial effects of meeting surge capacity and explain how they reached that figure, accounting for it in their financial disclosures. 
This disclosure would create uniformity, allowing various hospitals to be easily compared. The SEC requiring the disclosures also builds trust in health systems, as independent auditors would review them. The disclosures should also be readily accessible and understandable to the general public, the authors argued. 
These transparency requirements could also positively affect the finances of well-prepared hospitals, bringing in donations related to good performance. 
“Our feasible transparency steps will help to avoid yet another calamity in the next inevitable cycle of this epidemic,” the authors argued.
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