HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that growth among the hospital segment of the Springfield, Mass., MSA is expected to continue as the number of insured patients in the area rises due to the state's healthcare reform. According to the new Springfield Market Overview, while eight of the ten hospitals in the Springfield MSA reported positive earnings in the first year of the state's near-universal healthcare reform, hospitals will need to make adjustments to accommodate the increased insured population.
Among larger hospitals within the Springfield MSA, facility and technology upgrades have been necessary to support the growing number of insured residents. Baystate Health is the biggest health system in the market and will be expanding with a $259 million facility in the North End of the city, which is expected to be completed by 2012. Additionally, hospitals must prepare for a new state law that requires all Massachusetts hospitals to adopt electronic medical records by 2015.
Also, there are financial adjustments which hospitals will need to make in light of the state's reform measures. For instance, enrollment in Commonwealth Care, the state's subsidized plan, is behind projections in areas with high percentages of low-income residents and there is a large number of patients seeking free care who do not have insurance. Meanwhile, the state is phasing out payments for free care for the uninsured, which creates reimbursement issues for hospitals.
"Overall, the forecast for the hospital segment in Springfield, Mass., is positive as there is a new wave of previously uninsured patients leveraging local healthcare services," said Chris Clancy, market analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "There are some growing pains the region will need to manage, including financial issues associated with the reform efforts. However, these challenges should be resolved as the state government seems committed to its healthcare reform: it passed legislation to increase the tax penalties for some uninsured residents from $219 in 2007 to as much as $912 in 2008."
About Market Overviews
Market Overviews provide a detailed analysis of local healthcare markets, allowing healthcare businesses to plan their local strategies. In addition to the 75 metropolitan statistical areas covered in our individual market reports, HealthLeaders-InterStudy will be producing the following NEW Market Overview reports in 2008:
Baton Rouge, La. Cape Coral/Fort Myers, Fla. Charleston, S.C. Colorado Springs, Colo. Columbia, S.C. Lexington, Ky. Madison, Wis. Portland, Maine Southern New Jersey Spokane, Wash. Springfield, Mass. Wilmington, Del. About HealthLeaders-InterStudy
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