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CHICAGO—

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

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—

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.

FLINT, Mich.—

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.

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