Dr. Ramanathan Raju wants Cook County hospital to get into the health insurance business, selling plans on a statewide health insurance exchange, a move he says could generate much-needed revenue.
The ambitious proposal by the CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago is an attempt to transform a network that is often perceived as the healthcare provider of last resort.
Dr. Raju, who was named chief executive in October 2011, mentioned the proposal during a speech today before the City Club of Chicago, a civic group.
In an interview with Crain's, Dr. Raju acknowledged that the plan is risky, but said the county health system has to adapt to changes in the payment formulas used by government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and private insurance companies.
Increasingly, hospitals and physicians are being paid to keep large groups of patients healthy, rather than receiving reimbursements for how many services they provide. But the new arrangements can create financial losses for healthcare providers if patients require more care than expected.