As Detroit con­tin­ues to add jobs, Henry Ford sees brighter fu­ture

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Beth Kutscher

Detroit’s bur­geon­ing tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try is bring­ing new jobs to the city and bol­ster­ing providers such as Henry Ford Health Sys­tem.

Un­em­ploy­ment in the city has dropped to the mid-sin­gle dig­its af­ter spik­ing above 20% just two years ago. The city’s job cre­ation ini­tia­tives are hav­ing an ef­fect on the lo­cal econ­omy. “And th­ese are good-pay­ing jobs; th­ese are pro­fes­sional jobs,” Robert Riney, the sys­tem’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, told in­vestors last week at the J.P. Mor­gan Health­care Con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco. “The city has re­built in a unique way.”

Henry Ford, too, is count­ing on new tech­no­log­i­cal and dig­i­tal health in­no­va­tions to en­sure its fu­ture. It is in­vest­ing in ar­eas such as tele­health and has “a lot of ex­cite­ment as it re­lates to retail and con­sumerism,” Riney said.

The sys­tem’s busi­ness is evenly split be­tween its in­sur­ance and de­liv­ery arms. It ex­pects to tran­si­tion more care to the out­pa­tient set­ting and has built a strong am­bu­la­to­rycare net­work, said Wright Las­siter, the sys­tem’s pres­i­dent.

Ex­ec­u­tives painted a fi­nan­cial pic­ture of the sys­tem that showed it has re­cov­ered from an op­er­at­ing loss that they at­trib­uted to the costly im­ple­men­ta­tion of an elec­tronic health-record plat­form from Epic Sys­tems Corp.

In its most re­cent earn­ings re­port, Henry Ford re­ported an op­er­at­ing sur­plus of $101.9 mil­lion on $3.8 bil­lion in rev­enue and an op­er­at­ing mar­gin of 2.7% for the nine-month pe­riod ended Sept. 30. That com­pares to an op­er­at­ing sur­plus of $51.3 mil­lion on $3.5 bil­lion dur­ing the same pe­riod the pre­vi­ous year.

The sys­tem ex­pects to close two ac­qui­si­tions in the next 30 to 60 days, which will add just un­der $1 bil­lion in rev­enue. Henry Ford’s in­sur­ance busi­ness, Health Al­liance Plan, forged a deal in Oc­to­ber to ac­quire HealthPlus of Michi­gan, an­other in­surer. And in Novem­ber, the sys­tem said it would ac­quire Jack­son, Mich.-based Al­le­giance Health Sys­tem.

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