KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Sectors Of Health Care Industry Are Booming

News outlets report on sectors of the health care industry.

The Sacramento Bee: "The gleaming new tower at Mercy San Juan Medical Center bustles with patients, nurses and doctors. ... Opened a month ago, Mercy's tower was cited in a recent report ranking Sacramento as the nation's fastest growing market for health care jobs. The six-story project added 110 beds and nearly 200 new jobs to the hospital. ... Already, the health care sector accounts for a fifth of the region's payroll." That could be poised to grow: "Aging baby boomers, coupled with the region's population growth, virtually guarantee that the demand for health services won't diminish" (Caina Calvan, 2/1).

The [Minneapolis] Star Tribune: "Med-tech stocks are poised to outperform the overall market this year, according to a recent report by senior industry analysts at Piper Jaffray Cos., who find hope in a gradually strengthening economy for health care consumers." Investors had been anxious about the proposed health care overhaul, "in large part because bills pending in Congress called for a tax on medical device companies. No one was quite sure how much the tax would be, or how long it would last. … When lawmakers finally settled on a $2 billion annual levy for 10 years, much of the uncertainty fizzled." Given Republican Scott Brown's recent win in the Massachusetts Senate election, "the outlook for the industry now is 'even better,' [senior Piper Jaffray analyst Thomas] Gunderson says" (Moore, 1/31).

Abilene Biz: "The home health care industry is a competitive business, but there's some uncertainty in its future because of cuts in Medicare payments. Industry leaders warn that the result could be a loss of services for seniors, especially those in rural areas. ... Some industry observers, however, have been critical of high profit margins enjoyed by the agencies. While those margins have reportedly decreased, they were about 16.5 percent between 2002 and 2007, on average, according to a report from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission" (Adame, 1/30).

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