* This bill passed both chambers on unanimous roll calls…
Hospital corporations in Illinois now have to jump through more administrative hoops before they will be allowed to close or downsize a health care facility.
A new law that took effect this month requires the owners of those facilities to obtain a permit from the state’s Health Facilities and Services Review Board before they can close a hospital, ambulatory surgical treatment center, nursing home or other health care center. It also limits the number of times they can apply to discontinue a category of services to just once every six months. […]
The bill was prompted by a controversy in Cook County earlier this year when California-based Pipeline Health announced plans to shut down Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, a hospital that serves a large number of low-income patients. […]
The new law took effect as soon as Pritzker signed it, but state officials were not immediately able to say whether it would affect the proposed Westlake closure.
* Another example…
Warnings that “people will die” should a Blue Island hospital close punctuated a state panel’s hearing Wednesday in that city. […]
Dr. Annie Sinnott, who oversees MetroSouth’s emergency department, and fire chiefs from communities including Blue Island and Riverdale testified that ambulance transport times for critically ill patients will increase, possibly jeopardizing patient outcomes, should the hospital close.
“Real people with real problems are going to suffer,” said Sinnott, with other MetroSouth doctors standing with her. “People are going to suffer and people are going to die.” […]
[Dr. Henry Shin, the hospital’s medical chief of staff] blamed ownership changes in recent years, which have resulted in “services and staffing” being “gradually degraded” as a key factor in why people are seeking care at other area hospitals.
* But keeping the doors open will not be easy for some…
Shrinking subsidies are pushing hospitals that serve the poorest communities in the Chicago area to the financial brink, and potentially threatening patient safety.
Hospitals are getting less money from various federal and state programs intended to offset the cost of treating poor and uninsured patients who can’t pay for care. At the same time, the number of people without health insurance is rising, due partly to the elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and high insurance premiums. Even patients with insurance are struggling to cover out-of-pocket costs they incur under increasingly prevalent high-deductible insurance plans. […]
Cuts in Medicaid disproportionate share payments are set to take effect Oct. 1, but lawmakers are pushing for at least a two-year delay. An initial $4 billion reduction—to be followed by additional cuts—was mandated by the ACA under the assumption that Medicaid expansion and health insurance exchanges would reduce unpaid medical treatment. But uncompensated hospital care is rising again as court rulings and the Trump administration chip away at the landmark health care law. […]
Changes to the state’s hospital tax assessment program expected next year also worry some safety-net CEOs. They say they could lose tens of millions of dollars in funding if rates are more closely tied to patient volume, which has decreased across the board, or costly transformation efforts.
* Then there’s this problem in rural areas…
“We have been without a physician position being filled for about a year now and it only had three candidates two of which surfaced lately,” says Administrator of Genesis Medical Center Aledo Ted Rogalski.
And patients can feel the difference and it presents a challenge to hospital administrators.
“We see our patients leaving our communities and going elsewhere because our wait time for our two and physicians can be up to 8 weeks at a time so those patients will travel elsewhere to seek care,” says Rogalski.
The shortage of rural healthcare providers is about four times that in metropolitan areas. […]
“It’s a negotiation between the manage care company (insurance) and the local entity. If you’re part of a larger organization you’re going to have more power at the bargaining table than if you’re just a standalone where that managing care company might say this is all we’re paying you, take it or we’ll send our patients elsewhere,” Rogalski adds.
* And the rich get richer…
Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the only Illinois medical center to land among the 20 best hospitals nationwide, moving up three spots to No. 10, according to new rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
The academic medical center in Streeterville—which is nationally ranked in 12 specialties, including neurology and geriatrics—also topped the list of Illinois hospitals. Rounding out the top 5 in Illinois are University of Chicago Medical Center at No. 2, four-hospital NorthShore University HealthSystem and Rush University Medical Center, which tied for third, and Loyola University Medical Center at No. 5.