Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Eagan, warned industry and policy leaders that an unprecedented boom in hospital construction statewide -- $1.45 billion in 2002 alone -- could result in higher healthcare costs for members and employers. The Blues' "white paper" received strong criticism from hospital officials, who said they are responding to pent-up demand for services and that boards made up mostly of community leaders are making the construction decisions. According to the Blues, Minnesota hospitals' capital spending in 2002 is more than triple the $396 million they spent from 1992 through 1996. The insurer questioned whether hospitals have overspent on facilities for high-margin services, such as cardiac and orthopedic care, when other services, such as mental healthcare, are suffering from a lack of inpatient capacity. -- by Laura B. Benko
Minn. Blues attacks hospital construction boom
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