For several years, the structure of the hospital sector, divided into public and private, has been stable, despite a number of changes, including the introduction of the hospital network, where out of 593 treatment entities, only 10% were private hospitals. A large group among private hospitals, are those affiliated with the Polish Association of Private Hospitals – PAPH (30% of the private hospital sector and 12% of inpatient hospitals). Together, they own more than 5% of hospital beds, hospitalize about 5% of patients and employ about 12% of doctors and 7% of nurses and midwives working in inpatient hospitals.
The hospital market in Poland is undergoing the same changes as the hospital market in Europe or all over the world. Moving in the direction of efficiency with the use of modern therapeutic methods, the number of hospitals, the number of beds, the length of a patient’s stay in the hospital is decreasing, and the occupancy rate of hospital beds is increasing. The COVID-19 pandemic has hindered all changes and indicated that the hospital market must undergo computerization and has to become more flexible in terms of personnel and equipment to respond in time in an emergency.
The average PAPH private hospital is an entity with annual sales revenue of PLN 22.7 m, a net margin of 3%. The cost of day-to-day operations is 71% of medical staff salaries, which are rising regardless of the hospital. However, the problem is not only salaries, but also staff shortages and the age of the currently working medical staff. Cost discipline in material and energy consumption is maintained by the Medical Purchasing Group, to which PAPH-affiliated hospitals belong. In 2020, the profitability of the average PAPH private hospital was lower than in the previous year, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. ROE fell from 11% to 7%, ROA dropped from 5% to 4%, and ROS fell from 4% to 3%. The average PAPH private hospital pays its liabilities on time. Unfortunately, hospitals pay their liabilities 5 days faster than they receive their receivables. In this unfavourable situation, short-term financing, averaging 300 k, would support PAPH private hospitals. Unfortunately, external financing is at a low level, as evidenced by the overall debt ratio DR = 0.56.
The role of the private sector
Many reports emphasize the role of the private sector, which intends to be treated complementarily to the public sector. The private hospital sector is characterized by a qualified medical staff, expertise, premises, specialized medical equipment. It has the potential to admit up to 20% more patients and 30% more diagnostic tests performed with modern medical equipment. The private sector is willing to share its resources, a prime example of which was the offering of 1,000 hospital beds for patients infected with the SARSCoV-2 virus.