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Indianapolis Hospital Systems Compete for Well-Insured, Suburban Patients
Community Emerges Relatively Unscathed from the Great Recession
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Unlike many other communities, the Indianapolis emerged relatively unscathed from the economic downturn. The region has experienced above-average population growth and lower-than-average unemployment and uninsurance rates in recent years. The financial health of businesses in the health care and life-sciences industries likely contributed to this relatively strong local economic picture.
Still, the recession took a toll, with unemployment rising more recently. And, in an effort to contain health benefit costs, employer interest in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs)—high-deductible plans tied to a tax-advantaged savings account—remains strong.
“Compared with those in many other communities across the country, Indianapolis-area employers, including large employers, have embraced consumer-driven health plans,” said HSC President Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D.
Indianapolis is one of 12 communities across the country tracked intensively as part of the Community Tracking Study site visits, which are jointly funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute for Health Care Reform. HSC has been tracking these communities since 1996. Key findings of the report, Indianapolis Hospital Systems Compete for Well-Insured, Suburban Patients, available online at www.hschange.org/CONTENT/1270/, include:
Four hospital systems serve the market, each with a flagship hospital in or near downtown Indianapolis. Indiana University Health (IU Health), formerly Clarian Health, is the largest system, with almost 30 percent of inpatient admissions in the market across six hospitals. The second largest system is St. Vincent Health, with seven hospitals in the market. Community Health Network, with five general hospitals and one specialty heart hospital, and Franciscan St. Francis Health System with three hospitals in the market, are the next largest systems.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has long been the dominant health plan in Indianapolis, reportedly increasing its market share in the last five years. Anthem is followed in market share by UnitedHealth Group and ADVANTAGE Health Solutions.
County-owned Wishard Health Services serves as the main safety net provider and regional provider of Level 1 trauma and burn services. Wishard and other Indianapolis safety net providers have remained relatively strong financially, allowing them to expand capacity to meet increased need for free or reduced- cost care.
Wishard, part of the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, which also operates the county health department, comprises a 313-bed hospital, 13 outpatient clinics and Midtown Community Mental Health Center, the area’s major outpatient mental health provider. Following an aggressive campaign in 2009, Wishard received overwhelming public support for a $754-million bond issue to replace its aging hospital.
The Center for Studying Health System Change is a nonpartisan policy research organization committed to providing objective and timely research on the nations changing health system to help inform policy makers and contribute to better health care policy. HSC, based in Washington, D.C., is affiliated with Mathematica Policy Research.