Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Cited in Monocle Magazine

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Mar• 08•11

An excerpt from Monocle Magazine‘s February Issue, p. 58 in which I am quoted:

Syracuse is a healthcare hub.  A state teaching hospital and a non-profit community hospital, two of the city’s four largest employers, for a stable base of high-paying jobs in hard times.  But  having a hospital as a leading employer can often be a bad sign: the local community is overwhelmed by an ageing population.

The US healthcare overhaul will change the terrain for cities such as Syracuse, which are likely to see their hospitals forced to consolidate, economise or languish under the new rules.  Community hospitals have struggled financially for years, providing a safety net for millions of uninsured patients who could not afford care.  Hospital revenue will increase when more Americans receive insurance coverage from public exchanges from 2014.  The trade-off is that the payment system now rewards hospitals that produce better results at lower costs.

To do more with less, hospitals have to cut their bureaucracies and better coordinate and streamline care.

Even if hospitals manage to trim costs, it will be cold comfort to the local economy.  “It’s not like a community hospital is going to become the Google of local healthcare,” says healthcare economist Jason Shafrin of research firm Acumen.  A solid reputation for good healthcare is a nice perk for a city to have but not a big draw for business.  Cities such as Syracuse have to revive other parts of their economy rather than wait for hospitals to save them.”

Source: The Curse of Care: A local economy too reliant upon the healthcare business. Monocle, February 2010, Issue 40, p. 58.

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