Look­ing back on a year you'll never for­get

Why this was a year to re­mem­ber

Modern Healthcare - - Front Page - —Neil McLaugh­lin Man­ag­ing Edi­tor

Was that a year or what? Af­ter a cen­tury of strug­gle, the U.S. fi­nally ap­proves a com­pre­hen­sive re­form of the health­care sys­tem. Back­ers of the plan say it of­fers hope that nearly all Amer­i­cans will ob­tain ac­cess to in­surance cov­er­age. But the story is far from over. Repub­li­can op­po­nents launch a na­tion­wide cam­paign to re­peal or strike down the re­form law in the fed­eral courts, es­pe­cially its man­date that all cit­i­zens be re­quired to carry in­surance cov­er­age.

De­spite the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the law, the in­dus­try gears up to com­ply and ben­e­fit from it. Sem­i­nars on the law and par­tic­u­larly the ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tions en­vi­sioned by it are more nu­mer­ous than Star­bucks out­lets.

Mean­while, back at the be­lea­guered econ­omy, which is suf­fer­ing the worst down­turn since the Great De­pres­sion, hos­pi­tals man­age to pull through bet­ter than most busi­nesses. Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion statis­tics show hos­pi­tals emerged from re­ces­sion-bat­tered 2009 post­ing $34 bil­lion in prof­its for a solid 5% mar­gin.

And the ex­cite­ment runs right through to the end of the year as Com­mu­nity Health Sys­tems makes a $7.3 bil­lion bid for Tenet Health­care Corp., which Tenet re­jects as in­ad­e­quate.

If you were won­der­ing last New Year’s Eve how 2010 could pos­si­bly top 2009, you have your an­swer. We can’t know if 2011 will prove as earth­shak­ing, but we’re pretty sure it won’t be bor­ing.

The re­cap of 2010 events on the fol­low­ing pages is the work of our 12 re­porters and other ed­i­to­rial staffers. And be­gin­ning Dec. 27, we are of­fer­ing read­ers a photo gallery on our web­site, ModernHealth­care.com, that looks back on the key news events of 2010. We hope this pack­age and the photo gallery will rekin­dle mem­o­ries—fond or oth­er­wise—of an ex­tra­or­di­nary and mo­men­tous year.

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