« Latest from the House | Main | Michigan - A Preview of Coming Attractions for the U? »

Redundant Children's Hospital Coming Back to Haunt U?

Minnesota Hospitals in Dire Straits

And yet we can, apparently, afford a new children's hospital that prices out at about two million dollars per bed….

From the Pioneer-Press:

Minnesota hospitals detail dire fallout of state cuts Health leaders lay out services threatened by budget reductions

By Jeremy Olson

Minnesota hospitals threatened Wednesday to cut health care services for patients suffering from diabetes, mental illness and other diseases if Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Legislature approve steep budget reductions this year.

Pawlenty's plan to remove as many as 93,000 Minnesotans from state-subsidized health programs would require hospitals to save every penny to care for the rising number of uninsured patients, hospital leaders argued.

They said there would be nothing left to pay for support programs the hospitals provide on their own to help patients manage their conditions and remain healthy at home.

"It's unfortunate that most of the changes will come at a time when the services are most needed by people in the community," said Mark Eustis, president and CEO of Fairview Health Services.

The health system, which operates the University of Minnesota Medical Center and six other hospitals, predicts a loss of $100 million in revenue over the next two years under Pawlenty's budget cuts.

Fairview said its training of medical students would decline, and all of the hospitals said they would scale back mental health care.

Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul said it would eliminate transportation services and a nursing hot line.

Mahnomen Health Center said it would park a mobile

Hospital officials spoke at a hearing at the state Capitol organized by Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, and other House leaders.

And while they clamor for more funding each year, the backdrop of their latest warnings suggests they are reaching the brink. The major health systems in the Twin Cities have cut more than 1,500 jobs since last fall because of investment losses and the rising cost of caring for the uninsured and patients who can't pay their bills.

While the governor recognizes the difficult circumstances for the hospitals, spokesman Brian McClung said, everyone must do some "belt tightening." McClung said a projected 20 percent increase in state health care spending is unsustainable.

"As those programs grow at a pace that's out of control," he said, "they take limited funding away from other priorities like K-12 education and public safety."

Some critics point out that metro hospitals provide redundant and competitive services that have bloated health care costs. One notable example was the failure of two pediatric organizations to consolidate and build a single facility,
but all hospitals have been buying redundant medical technology to compete.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)