KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospital Officials Report Job Cuts, Concern About Possible Effects Of Reform

Several news outlets find that hospital executives are worried about their facilities' finances, and for a Chicago hospital the prospect of health care reform brings even more concerns.

CBS2 Chicago: "Even as another big battle rages over the budget at Cook County's Stroger Hospital, executives there have been trying to prepare for an even more serious long-term threat: federal health insurance reform. ... [C]ounty health officials said they're worried that once now-uninsured patients have the option, they will turn to other, private hospitals for health care. Much of Stroger Hospital's funding comes from Medicaid, which reimburses the hospital for treating the poor. ... County Health system bosses said they are worried by the case studies they've looked at in Massachusetts. When that state subsidized health insurance to the poor, a big public hospital in Boston took a big hit. Many of its regular patients happily fled to private hospitals. But people who rely on private hospitals can attest those hospitals also have problems with long waits and surly support staff" (Flannery, 11/23).

Meanwhile, the Columbus (Ohio) Business Journal reports: "The trade group for the state's hospitals is warning that nearly one in five members in Ohio will cut jobs. The Ohio Hospital Association in a survey of 75 hospitals, which represents about half of its membership, found that 48 percent have implemented job cuts already. Of those surveyed, 18 percent said they plan to cut additional workers, while nearly two in three – 64 percent – said they plan to take additional cost-cutting measures beyond staffing reductions. Half of the hospitals surveyed told the association they expect to leave future vacancies unfilled as well. Driving the turbulent job market, the association said, is an influx in uninsured patients and what hospitals say are insufficient payments from Medicaid and Medicare" (11/23).

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