July 2, 2015

Tuesday's Number Quarterly Recap

This past Tuesday’s Number post was the last in the second quarter.

As I do every thirteen weeks, I took a look to see how the numbers stack up against prior quarters, and to try and get a handle on whether or not we've got any interesting trends. 

First, here are the quarterly totals:
  • New Judgments: $3,290,452  
  • Satisfied judgments: $107,869  
  • Bankruptcies: $321,661 
  • Grand total: $3,504,244

And the year to date numbers: 
  • New Judgments: $8,471,440
  • Satisfied judgments: $268,377
  • Bankruptcies: $782,560
  • Grand total: $8,985,623

How does this quarter compare to others? Well, we saw the lowest total filings, 201. The previous best? Q1 2014, when there were 253.  It also had the lowest dollar total for new judgments, beating Q1 2014 by roughly $1.7M.  For satisfied judgments, this was the second lowest total, coming in about $20K less than the previous low in Q3 2014.  And, we saw the second lowest total dollars in bankruptcies; Q4 2014 was about $150K lower.

While there are lots of positives this quarter - most of the metrics are going in the right direction - the number of satisfied judgments coming in low is a little disappointing. 

If you think about a 'Tuesday’s Number' kind of ideal world, folks who have piled up heath care debt would have affordable health insurance (without gigantic out of pocket costs built in) to protect them going forward. And, they’d have jobs that paid enough to cover their bills, including health insurance premiums, maybe save some money, and have enough to spare to allow them to pay down the medical bills they accumulated when they were uninsured, or under-insured.

The other part of the 'Tuesday’s Number' ideal world is the part where hospitals, nursing homes, surgical centers, physician groups and the like were reimbursed enough to cover their costs and allow their employees to make a good living; to invest in new treatments and technologies; expand into rural areas and less financially attractive specialties; and to have some money left to provide assistance to folks who run into hard times, so that we don’t see millions of dollars piling up every Tuesday.

Are we there yet?

Not unless you think that a net of $59,899,058 (judgments plus bankruptcies, minus satisfied judgments) over ten quarters is acceptable for our community. 

But we can hope that the numbers continue to improve, across all categories, and that we inch ever closer to the ideals outlined above.