KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Plans For New Hospital Outside Detroit Raise Questions

Developments in hospital news also include an analysis of Maryland's success with rate regulation, the economic power of health care jobs in San Francisco and reports that a Mass. hospital system is launching a health plan.

WBUR: Steward Rolls Out Health Insurance Plan
Steward, (Massachusetts') second largest hospital network, is launching a health insurance plan that will attract attention on price. Steward says its plan will cost 20 to 30 percent less than coverage offered by other health insurers in Massachusetts. ... This move will help Steward fill its growing network of hospitals and get ready for the move to global payments (Bebinger, 9/16). 

Marketplace: A Medical Mecca Rises In Suburban Detroit
The hospital chain McLaren, from Flint, hopes to build a $600 million hospital complex [in Oakland County, Mich.] – promising maybe 3,000 jobs. But Dennis [McCafferty] says this region doesn't need another hospital. "Uh, where we're sitting right now there are already six existing hospitals within a 30-minute drive time that average occupancy is 55 percent. So it isn't a hospital that's needed by the community, it's a hospital needed by one health system to capture market share from its competitors" (Warner, 9/15).

The Fiscal Times: Is This The Answer To Hospital Costs?
President Obama's health care reform bill is filled with experiments on how to hold down health care costs. There will be bundled payments for episodes of care and extra payments for raising quality standards. ... What's not in the legislation is old-fashioned hospital rate regulation, which only one state in the nation uses. The latest results from Maryland suggest rate regulation works (Goozner, 9/15).

California Healthline: Health Care's 'Tricky' Role As Economic Leader In California
A new report measuring hospitals' economic impact in San Francisco suggests the health care industry might be the most important economic engine driving the city's economy. Hospitals and hospital-related enterprises generate $15.3 billion in annual spending in San Francisco, as well as 98,994 jobs, about 18 percent of the city's workforce according to the report commissioned by the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California (Lauer, 9/15). 

New Hampshire Public Radio: Exeter Hospital Lays Off Workers
Add Exeter Hospital to the growing list of health care providers that have announced layoffs. Exeter officials, like other New Hampshire hospitals, say they must cut because of the state budget cuts. Vice President Mark Whitney says Exeter will permanently close its adult dental practice, and also the state's only ventilator-dependent care unit (Gorenstein, 9/15). 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: WellStar Challenges Plan for Cherokee County Replacement Hospital
WellStar Health System is challenging Northside Hospital's plan to build a $250 million replacement hospital in Cherokee County. In a Sept. 1 letter to the state Department of Community Health, the health system said Northside has not proved it should be exempt from Georgia’s certificate-of-need process for its proposed Canton facility. The process requires hospitals to get state approval for major construction and expansion projects. Northside officials say they are exempt from CON review because the new hospital would be less than three miles from the existing facility, which was built in 1962 (Williams, 9/15).

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