HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care industry intelligence, finds that Community Medical Centers (CMC), which dominates Fresno's hospital market, continues to show serious losses, driven by its for-profit Fresno Heart Hospital. According to the latest issue of the Fresno Market Overview, CMC's operating loss was $10.8 million in fiscal 2004.
"CMC has been trying to update and expand its facilities and services in an effort to diversify its Medicaid and Medicare clientele by appealing to commercially insured North Fresno suburban customers," said Patrick Powers, HealthLeaders-InterStudy senior analyst. "But this strategy has led to serious financial stresses. Fresno Heart Hospital is an attempt at a lucrative specialty facility catering to Central San Joaquin Valley residents who were used to traveling to San Francisco for heart procedures, but the facility has lost millions since it opened in October 2003."
Fresno Heart Hospital also faces serious competition from nearby Saint Agnes Medical Center's well-regarded cardiology program, which maintains an exclusive arrangement to provide cardiology and other services to Kaiser Foundation Health Plan members.
In response, CMC is considering opening Fresno Heart Hospital to noncardiac procedures. The facility was originally planned without an emergency room, precisely because of concerns that patients might seek noncardiac emergency care there.
Other news about the Fresno healthcare market: * Proposed changes in Medi-Cal would make managed care mandatory for families and children in Fresno County, while leaving it voluntary for seniors and the disabled. * Four health plans will offer the Medicare Part D drug benefit as a Medicare Advantage option in the Fresno area. * Fresno Unified School District, the area's largest employer, negotiated a new contract with its teachers union that initiates cost sharing and eliminates free lifetime healthcare benefits for retirees. About Market Overviews
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