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The Noblis Center for Health Innovation Forecasts 2009 Trends In Provider Health Care Delivery

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Dec. 3/PRNewswire/ -- With access to capital becoming more restricted accompanied by a significant decline in philanthropic giving, dwindling investment income, increasing bad debt and growing charity care, many hospitals and health systems are extremely vulnerable.

In the wake of the current economic crisis, here are the five most significant issues that will impact provider health care delivery in 2009, as predicted by the Noblis Center for Health Innovation, a leading non-profit advisory firm to health providers:

    1. Consumer demands will continue to change

       -- Healthcare utilization will be stable or even decline as consumers
          delay in seeking routine care.
       -- Consumers will continue to seek medical information/knowledge via
          Web resources.
       -- Medical travel will increase, expanding the competitive environment.

    2. Budgets will be trimmed and capital investments delayed

       -- Margins will decline, negatively affecting investment income,
          philanthropy, interest payments, unemployment, cash flow, bad debt,
          and charity care.
       -- The economic downturn will force most hospitals to trim their
          operating budgets in 2009, resulting in hiring freezes of
          non-clinical staff, lay-offs, and other expense reductions.
       -- The credit market will tighten further and bond ratings will fall,
          limiting hospitals ability to access capital.
       -- The recent health care construction boom will continue, but at a
          much slower rate.

    3. The health care industry will consolidate even further

       -- Hospitals that have historically relied on investment income,
          municipal funding of indigent and charity care, and low interest
          rate credit lines will experience an increase in bankruptcies,
          program closures, and/or hospital closures.

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