HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care industry intelligence, finds that the merger between Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services (JHHS) and CARITAS Health Services, the Louisville area's second and fourth-largest health systems, creates a challenger to Norton Healthcare as the area's largest integrated health system. According to the latest issue of the Louisville Market Overview, the components of the new health system accounted for 34 percent of the area's inpatient discharges in 2003, while Norton, the largest existing system, had 32 percent of total inpatient discharges that year.

"Unlike many hospital systems in mid-sized metropolitan markets nationwide, Louisville-area hospitals are generally profitable and in excellent financial condition," said Patrick Powers, HealthLeaders-InterStudy senior analyst. "They also have a good track record of working together to take care of the Medicaid population. Before the merger, JHHS and Norton jointly managed University of Louisville hospital. By covering 23 percent of Louisville's Medicaid inpatient volume, University takes financial pressure off other area hospitals. Even as JHHS-CARITAS and Norton compete for the area's privately insured patients, they'll continue to co-manage University."

Dominant Louisville hospitals are also playing hardball with insurers: Norton announced this fall that it would no longer accept Humana insurance after its contract expires in September 2006. Humana says it wants to continue negotiating.

And area physicians, squeezed by high malpractice rates, are giving up private practice and moving into employed roles at the various health systems. Norton gained its dominant position in part by the use of employed physicians to manage cost and quality. Both JHHS and Baptist Healthcare System, the area's third largest, are buying up physician practices.

  Other news about the Louisville healthcare market:    * Despite a continuing fall in membership, Louisville-area HMOs remain     profitable.   * Two new Medicare Advantage PPO plans are being marketed in Louisville,     shaking up a long-stable Medicare market    About Market Overviews 

Market Overviews provides a detailed analysis of each local healthcare market, allowing healthcare businesses to plan their local strategies.

About HealthLeaders-InterStudy

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a company of Decision Resources, Inc. (http://www.decisionresources.com/), is the authoritative source for managed care data, analysis, and news. For more information, please visit http://www.healthleaders-interstudy.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:    Alex Jablokow   Decision Resources   781-296-2562   ajablokow@dresources.com 

SOURCE: HealthLeaders-InterStudy

CONTACT: Alex Jablokow of Decision Resources, +1-781-296-2562,
ajablokow@dresources.com

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