"Modern Healthcare" recently reported the closure of Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Interfaith Medical Center, like Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, is/was a large "safety-net" hospital. Interfaith primarily treated patients on Medicaid and uninsured patients. It has been in financial strain for some time.
The question, of course, becomes, where will those patients now received needed medical care. At least two things catch my attention in this regard. The first is that this hospital may have survived had "Obamacare" been implemented sooner. In other words, by participating in the exchanges and tapping federal revenues available to help people afford health insurance, the patients served by Interfaith would have had more resources to be spent for medical care. Also, the hosipital itself apparently could have sponsored its patients by paying their premiums for insurance under the new laws and policies.
The article notes that hospitals with high debt, low occupancy and less acutely ill patients are more likely to close. Well, under the new law, if Interfaith Medical Center had become part of an Accountable Care Organization, perhaps more of its revenues whould have come through capitation and its low occupancy rates would not have been a major problem.
This bring up the question of the role of hospitals (and safety net hospitals in particular) in the future of healthcare delivery in the United States. Many people see hospitals as the "hubs" of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Others see a more fluid situation in which ACOs are not dependent upon hospital systems as "hubs."
It seems to me that to effectively protest the closing of a major safety net hospital requires more than a wish to return to the past. An effective protest, I think, requires an understanding of the future of healthcare delivery in the United States. Without that understanding, then it is not possible to anticipate how existing institutions can fit into the new realities and survive.
Students, please see what you can find regarding safety net hospitals and Accountable Care Organizations and then reflect upon the situation reported in this recent article in Modern Healthcare. Comment here, as before.