Advocate Health Care plans to cut $200 million in expenses as financial pressures mount.
Jim Skogsbergh, CEO of the Downers Grove, Ill.-based health system, insists the cuts aren't related to Advocate's lengthy battle trying to merge with Evanston, Ill.based NorthShore University HealthSystem. Advocate spent $15 million in legal fees and other expenses related to the merger, the system said. Instead, the cuts are fueled by soaring debt from patients who can't afford to pay their medical bills. Reimbursement rates from Medicaid and Medicare don't cover how much it costs to treat patients, while payments from private insurers aren't making up the difference, Skogsbergh said. The state of Illinois, which hasn't approved a budget in nearly two years, also has not paid Advocate and other providers.