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Illinois hospitals cite impact on jobs, economy


By Rachel Landen
Posted: March 27, 2014 - 1:45 pm ET
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Illinois' nearly 50 health systems and more than 200 hospitals contribute $83.4 billion annually to the state's economy, according to a report issued this week by the Illinois Hospital Association (PDF). Looking at their financial health however, 39% of Illinois hospitals operated in the red over the last two years, the report noted.

Medicare and Medicaid payment cuts have contributed to Illinois hospitals' financial challenges. Since 2011, the state has seen more than $380 million in Medicaid reductions, while in the past decade, Medicare payments have dropped by about $11 billion.

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However, the report also found that even as Illinois lost 217,300 jobs between 2000 and 2013, it gained 115,600 healthcare positions. One of every 10 jobs in Illinois is in the healthcare sector, with hospitals and health systems generating close to 450,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“Clearly, hospitals and health systems continue to be critical job creators for their communities,” Illinois Hospital Association president and CEO Maryjane Wurth said in a release (PDF).

Also, Illinois hospitals account for $5.2 billion in community contributions, which includes $704 million in charity care, the unreimbursed cost of training medical professionals, research not covered by grants, and bad debt forgiveness.

Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden


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