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The Noblis Center for Health Innovation Forecasts 2009 Trends In Provider Health Care Delivery
Date:12/3/2008

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.
       -- Small hospitals and rural hospitals will be the most at risk in
          today's economy.

    4. The workforce will be in transition

       -- Physician responses to their own financial uncertainties will vary,
          but will include slowed/delayed retirements, seeking
          employment/practice purchase, and decreased acceptance of no
          pay/slow pay (including Medicaid) patients.
       -- Innovative staffing alternatives will be explored by hospitals and
          physicians as they seek ways to operate more efficiently and expand
          volumes without adding cost.
       -- Nursing vacancies may lessen with some inactive nurses returning to
          the workforce.

    5. Health reform will not be universal, but it will be everywhere

       -- Healthcare reform will be a high priority on the national level
          although significant national system reform is unlikely in the
          short term.
       -- Hospitals will increase efforts to fund care for their uninsured
          patients.

To request a copy of the full 2009 health trends white paper and/or to schedule an interview with Susie Krentz, director of the Noblis Center for Health Innovation or with another member of the leadership team, please contact Jorge Lavina, jlavina@cooperkatz.com or 917-595-3047, Katy Layton, klayton@cooperkatz.com or 917-595-3057 or Amy Lee, alee@cooperkatz.com or 917-595-3055.

About the NoblisCenter for Health Innovation:

The Noblis Center for Health Innovation assists private-sector and government health organizations in achieving their missions through integrative and collaborative advisory services and research. It combines strategic thinking with innovation to support clients' planning and performance needs. For more information, please visit www.noblis.org/Healthcare.


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