Message from the President

I am pleased to provide you with MCHC’s 2012 Metropolitan Chicago Region Environmental Assessment. This assessment provides an overview of the broad environmental and market issues that will likely impact the health care field in the metropolitan Chicago region during the upcoming year. It is designed to help MCHC members better understand the significant challenges their organizations will likely face not only this year, but for the foreseeable future. This year’s assessment also includes a special theme on health care reform to recognize the impact this historic legislation will have on MCHC members. READ


Finance & Operations

The impact of the economic downturn continues to be significant and will likely be long-lasting. The unemployment rate is at an all-time high, hovering near 10 percent in the metropolitan Chicago region, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). READ


Quality Care & Patient Safety

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the U.S. spends more than any other country on health care ($7,538 per capita) but does a worse job providing efficient access to quality care compared to six other industrialized countries. Statistics such as these, combined with the recognition by both government and private payers that delivering quality care also reduces costs, hospitals will continue to be scrutinized in their ability to provide quality care services and prevent medical errors. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) includes several provisions that bring greater structure to quality improvement efforts – providing the opportunity for hospital and physician quality measures to be in closer alignment. As such, hospitals have renewed their commitment to improving and aggressively addressing many quality and patient safety concerns. READ


Health Care Workforce

A dominant issue for hospitals continues to be the availability of skilled health care professionals. Studies continue to show that shortages in the health care workforce has the ability to impact the delivery and quality of care provided, and will continue to challenge hospitals from both a budgetary and a quality standpoint for the foreseeable future. READ


Political Trends

Health care reform had a big year in 2010, but 2012 will not be all quiet on the health care front. The Obama administration is laying a policy foundation for 2012, while health care reform opponents will try to stop the law altogether. While complete repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is unlikely, there is no guarantee that the reform will stick. Future Congresses could erode or undercut the new law. READ

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