HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that the Chicago metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is moving toward hospital consolidation in response to the national credit crunch and health systems' focus on merger opportunities. Despite recent multibillion-dollar hospital construction activity, reduced access to capital may mean acquisitions will provide the best opportunity for hospital expansion, according to the latest Chicago Market Overview.

According to the report, consolidation will likely occur around the market's major academic medical centers, which will provide smaller hospitals with access to updated technology, including electronic medical records.

"In recent years, Chicago has been one of the country's most active healthcare markets where many local hospitals have renovated extensively or built new facilities in the outlying areas," said Mark Cherry, analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy and author of the report. "With reduced access to capital for such construction projects, we are seeing more acquisition activity. Chicago's North Shore area is a good example of this trend, where multiple acquisition deals have been made or are in progress."

Advocate Health Care, which is the only area health system to occupy hospitals throughout the Chicago region, is expected to complete its acquisition of Lake County's Condell Medical Center later this year. Additionally, in May 2008, Rush North Shore Medical Center agreed to be purchased by Evanston Northwestern.

"As Chicago's hospitals increasing align, they will likely have a greater influence with area insurers," noted Cherry. "Because of its merger with Advocate Health Care, Condell Medical Center is again part of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois network, after being dropped from the network in November 2007."

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 MSAs 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 

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a Decision Resources, Inc. company, is the authoritative source for managed care data, analysis and news. For more information, please visit www.HealthLeaders-InterStudy.com.

About Decision Resources, Inc.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. at www.DecisionResourcesInc.com.

All company, brand or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

  For more information, contact:    Lisa Osgood                    Elizabeth Marshall   HealthLeaders-InterStudy       Decision Resources, Inc.   781-296-2606                   781-296-2563   losgood@hl-isy.com             emarshall@dresources.com 

First Call Analyst:
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SOURCE: HealthLeaders-InterStudy

CONTACT: Lisa Osgood of HealthLeaders-InterStudy, +1-781-296-2606,
losgood@hl-isy.com; Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, Inc.,
+1-781-296-2563, emarshall@dresources.com

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