Saturday, April 05, 2008

I thought exactly about this

On Wednesday I posted here an article from the Chicago Tribune about the closing of a Blue Island hospital. This is probably one thing that didn't help in keeping this hospital open and in business...

As health insurance companies and government health insurance programs reduce amounts they pay hospitals, hospital operators increasingly look to consolidate to gain economies of scale in the regions where they operate.

Some operators also try the increasingly controversial route of expanding or relocating to wealthier suburban areas in order to attract a higher number of commercially insured patients who can provide a steadier flow of revenue.

But SSM was stymied in its attempts to expand and does not have other hospitals in the area to rely upon. SSM said it tried to strengthen St. Francis, located in a blue-collar community that has suffered job losses, by expanding to more affluent Orland Park, which is partly in Will County.

Those plans were rejected three years ago by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.

The planning board, which regulates hospital construction in Illinois, said the Orland Park area already was well-served by hospitals that had excess bed capacity, so there was no need for another hospital's services in the growing suburb. State health planning officials had no comment when reached Wednesday.
Then I saw this in the Clout St. blog today in the very last paragraph...
Questionable decisions by past members of the Health Facilities Planning Board have been used to underscore corruption allegations in the federal trial of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a fund-raiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“We’re for abolishing the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board to do about $3 billion worth of projects and put 8,000 people to work,” said Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale). “And that’s just on top of the corruption problems that want to lead us to abolish that board, which is the central focus of the Tony Rezko trial going on in Chicago today.”
There shouldn't be any impediment to allowing a hospital to expand especially if it means it's survival and I don't think this should be left up to a government board. If nothing else it should be up to those localities where a hospital seeks to expand. If we are to believe this idea that there is a health-care crisis in this country, why should we entertain stopping a hospital from expanding into another locality?

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