The Cook County Board of Review denied Northwestern Memorial Healthcare’s appeal of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios’ decision to put Prentice Women’s Hospital on the property tax rolls, according to a financial disclosure filed last week by the Chicago-based hospital system. Last year, the Illinois Department of Revenue denied the hospital tax-exempt status, beginning in 2007, in part because Prentice did not provide sufficient charity care. Northwestern has appealed the Revenue Department’s decision, but nonetheless, Berrios in October moved to start taxing the downtown Chicago facility. If required to pay property taxes for 2008-11, Northwestern would owe $66 million, the filing says. “We are disappointed in the ruling; however, it did not come as a surprise given the limited time the Board of Review is able to spend on each matter before it,” a Northwestern Memorial spokeswoman said in an e-mail. “We will continue to vigorously contest the assessment.”
—Crain’s Chicago Business
Illinois providers are criticizing a Medicaid overhaul proposed by Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn that would reduce 58 separate line items to help achieve $2.7 billion in Medicaid savings, including reimbursement reductions of $675 million. Providers “do very important work, but at the same time, the reimbursements that they receive have to be reduced,” Quinn said. The Illinois Hospital Association said the plan requires a $350 million rate cut for hospitals, and called Quinn’s plan “the wrong approach that will hurt patients.” The IHA suggested alternatives including better maximization of federal revenue and improving the primary-care casemanagement program. “While we commend the governor for taking some positive steps—including incorporating several of IHA’S savings alternatives—the proposal is still too drastic and too rash to impose on the state’s already fragile healthcare system,” an IHA statement read. Eliminating or reducing coverage of “certain optional populations and services,” according to a news release, would represent $1.35 billion, or half of the $2.7 billion in cuts. Other provisions of the plan call for efforts to prevent overuse or waste, better coordination of care and expanded cost-sharing by beneficiaries. Quinn also proposed an increase in the state’s cigarette tax to generate $337.5 million, or 12.5% of the $2.7 billion, a target the governor floated during his February budget address.
Mclaren Health Plan, a Flint-based HMO that counts 150,000 total beneficiaries, acquired Caresource Michigan, a 34,500-member Medicaid HMO. Caresource, based in Dayton, Ohio, said the deal won’t have any effect on Caresource Ohio members, according to a news release. Michigan officials must approve the purchase, and the process could take 90 days. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Caresource Michigan patients will become members of Mclaren Health Plan, which is part of eight-hospital Mclaren Health Care. The deal increases Mclaren’s footprint in Michigan to 53 counties from 30, according to the release, and Mclaren currently covers 80,000 members in its Medicaid HMO. Kathy Kendall, president and CEO of Mclaren Health Plan, said in the release that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would continue to encourage Medicaid HMO expansion and “that this growth will be sustained moving into the future.” The transaction “would also give Mclaren Health Plan a muchneeded presence in the ‘dual-eligible’ market whose members are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid,” she added.
IOWA CITY, Iowa—
Two of Iowa’s largest healthcare providers—university of Iowa Health Care in Iowa City and Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids— announced plans to form an accountable care organization as part of a wider collaboration. A statement from UI Health Care said the two organizations are planning to coordinate patient care and decrease costs through the formation of a Medicare ACO, which would focus on improving disease screening, delivery of acute care and population-based health management through integrated delivery networks. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is a 699-bed, multicampus academic medical center, and Mercy Medical Center is a 238-bed not-for-profit free-standing hospital. In addition to the ACO, the two providers plan to develop joint programs for treatment of end-stage renal disease, including inpatient, outpatient and home-based dialysis services, and kidney transplant services at the UI Organ Transplant Center. “This collaboration builds upon a long-standing relationship between two nationally recognized and award-winning organizations that are both deeply invested in the communities we serve,” Dr. Jean Robillard, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Iowa, said in the news release.
If required to pay property taxes for Prentice, Northwestern would owe $66 million for 2008-11.