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Little Rock Hospitals and Physician Continue to Vie for Profitable Services
More Children Gain Coverage as Access-to-Care Problems Mount for Uninsured Adults
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Little Rock remains a market where health care costs are extremely high relative to workers incomes, leaving many low-income adults with inadequate access to health care. In contrast, low-income children have relatively good access, thanks largely to the Arkansas Medicaid program.
"Little Rocks health care market is a study in contrastshospitals and physicians are competing fiercely for high-cost, high-tech services, in part to offset the need for more uncompensated care for uninsured, low-income people," said Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., president of HSC, a nonpartisan policy research organization funded principally by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Both hospitals and physicians reported continuing financial pressures because of payment rates they say dont keep up with operating cost increases. Hospitals also reported that financial pressures increased in the last two years because of the growing burden of uncompensated care. In response, hospitals continued to compete for physicians and patients, particularly around profitable service lines, such as cardiology and orthopedics, to help offset financial pressures.
Other key findings of the report, Little Rock Providers Vie for Revenues, as High Health Care Costs Continue, include:
Little Rock is one of 12 communities across the country tracked intensively
by HSC researchers through site visits. The new report is based on a February
2005 site visit and interviews with more than 65 Little Rock health care leaders,
representing health plans, employers, hospitals, physicians and policy makers.
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 funded principally by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is affiliated with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.