Sick Rich People Keep Hospital Healthy

Business booming for Northwestern's expanding hospital

Sick rich people have been very, very good to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The already expansive downtown behemoth isn't done with its growth spurt, Crain's reports today.

"Northwestern continues to garner sizable patient growth," one analyst told the publication.  And that's helping to fuel two major projects "in the works," sources tell Crain's.

"Northwestern saw more patients and performed more surgeries in the first half of its fiscal year, even as demand slipped at other local hospitals as patients lost insurance or skipped medical care," Crain's reports.

Standard & Poor's Brian Williamson "credits Northwestern's strong reputation, especially for women's care, and a relatively affluent patient base.

"Just 7% of its revenue came from the low-paying Medicaid program in the six-month period, a slight uptick from 6.8% a year earlier, S&P says.

"Loyola got 13% of its revenue from Medicaid in 2007, the most recent state data available show; nearly one-third of U of C's revenue came from Medicaid that year."

Loyola Medical Center announced last week that it was slashing more than 440 jobs - on top of 200 jobs cut in December. In February, the University of Chicago Medical Center announced it was cutting 450 jobs.

"Hospitals in the Chicago area and across the country are eliminating employees amid the recession and higher numbers of patients who cannot pay bills," the Tribune reports.

But for the upper end in health care, business is booming.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter. He has a bare bones Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance policy that probably wouldn't get him into any hospital that isn't run by Todd Stroger.

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