HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that the hospital sector in southern New Jersey is faring better than health systems in other parts of the state, where eight hospitals have closed this year. According to the new Southern New Jersey Market Overview, the strength of the southern New Jersey hospital sector is likely attributed to the fact that the southern portion of the state did not have the same over-saturation of medical services that exists in northern New Jersey.
According to the report, hospitals in the southern New Jersey market such as Camden's Cooper University Hospital are safety-net facilities that receive a higher reimbursement rate than other hospitals for Medicaid patients. Additionally, the area benefits from New Jersey Future, a statewide research and policy plan that advocates business growth and neighborhood revitalization through universities and hospitals.
"Hospitals and universities in the Camden area have played a major role in city revitalization efforts as part of the state's economic recovery package, and are seeing the benefits of their efforts," said Chris Clancy, market analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "Five of southern New Jersey's six health systems currently have major construction projects under way. However, recent profit margins may decrease in light of the nation's economic downturn and recent budget cuts in New Jersey."
New Jersey's 2008-2009 budget reduces the state's charity-care program by $111 million. Charity-care is reimbursed by the state because of a state law that requires hospitals to provide both emergency and elective care to uninsured and underinsured residents.
"More people are likely to lose health insurance in the wake of the economic downturn. An increased uninsured population coupled with the reduced charity-care reimbursement from the state will likely eat into any recent profits realized by southern New Jersey hospitals," noted Clancy.
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