In Annual Community Investment Report, UCMC Sees Rising Medicaid and Medicare Losses, Growth in Violence Prevention Programs | News

In the University of Chicago Medical Center’s 2019 Community Benefits Report, Medicare and Medicaid losses increased from a year earlier as the hospital also launched new violence prevention programs in as part of his trauma center.

the reportreleased last week, provides an annual update on the amount of money UCMC invests in the community and highlights different community programs the medical center participates in or supports.

The medical center’s overall community investment grew to $519.5 million in fiscal 2019, just over $40 million more than Last year. What is listed as an investment is relatively broad – medical research, money to community groups, education and different forms of unpaid care all count.

The largest investment increases came from jumps in Medicare and Medicaid center losses. (Since federal reimbursement rates often do not cover the full cost of care, hospitals tend to lose money programs.) Medicare program losses increased by $56.4 million, a 29% increase over last year, while Medicaid losses increased by nearly two-thirds, from $52.2 million to $86.2 million.

These losses, which amount to approximately $90 million, more than cover the increase in total community investment. There were offsetting decreases in the amount of uncollectible patient debt and the amount spent on medical education.

There has been a rapid increase in Medicare losses for UCMC over the past six years. In the 2013 Community Benefits Report, the oldest publicly available, UCMC lost $65.5 million from the program; that same number was $249 million in 2019.

Brenda Battle, vice president of the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) and head of diversity, inclusion and equity at UCMC, said the losses were due to more patients on Medicare and Medicaid were using the hospital.

“We have had quite a dramatic increase in the number of patients in our hospitals. We don’t know exactly why. We have seen growth in our volume compared to other areas or neighborhoods,” Battle said. “There’s also been a bit of a slowness in reimbursing hospitals – that’s part of it.”

Some of the increase may simply be due to demographics: A 2015 report by the Federal Advisory Commission on Medicare Payment projected that Medicare enrollment would increase by 26 million people in over the next 15 years as more baby boomers enter the program.

Battle also highlighted a pair of violence prevention programs that UCMC implemented in 2019, the first full year after opening a Level 1 trauma center. The first, Block Hassenfield Casdin (BHC) Collaborative for Family Resilience, expands the hospital’s Violence Recovery Program, which helps people who have experienced gun violence with their trauma.

The program is aimed particularly at children. “This is a collective effort to address violence and improve holistic recovery from violence,” Battle said. “This program allowed us to focus on children, but also on the children of adults who have been affected by violence and trauma.”

The Abuse Recovery Program began with the opening of the trauma center, but the BHC collaboration has allowed the hospital to expand its staff from 8 to just under 30 people. “We were able to add other really needed support services, such as spiritual care services to support families, and expand behavioral health support services,” Battle said.

The other new initiative, Southland RISE, is a collaboration between UCMC and Advocate Health Care, a nonprofit with a hospital in Oak Lawn. Thanks to Southland RISE, which covers the south side and the southern suburbs, the two medical systems given a total of $100,000 in grants to 14 community organizations working on violence prevention last summer. The group also held a Mountain peak in March.

Overall, Battle says, the opening of the trauma center underscored how helpful it can be to have comprehensive violence prevention services close to those most at risk, as well as their families and friends.

“With victims of violence having to come out to the South Side for trauma care, access or exposure to some of the comprehensive support services to help victims of violence avoid recurrence of violence was limited,” he said. she declared. “We have provided exponential support to people on the South Side, but also to families and groups of friends, as support services extend beyond the individual. It is recognizing that the people around the individual also need support.

Battle added that the other lesson is the importance of working closely with community groups and social service agencies to bring people into prevention programs. “Before, a lot of outreach was done in neighborhoods trying to identify people who needed these services. But when they’re in the hospital, we already have them, they’re already there – the connection is immediate,” she said. “It’s something we’ve all learned how important it is for hospitals to work with social services to be a collective group of team members.”

In recent years, UCMC has also worked on asthma, another issue that disproportionately affects black and Hispanic communities on the South Side. Through the South Side Pediatric Asthma Centerhospital health workers assess whether families need to change their behavior regarding asthma treatment.

“We can’t control the fact that the Dan Ryan runs through all the neighborhoods on the south side, putting smoke in the air,” Battle said. “But we can say, what are the factors in people’s homes that could cause asthma exacerbations? What are some of the things that are not being done? The center takes care of more than 3,000 children. Of the roughly 300 people who had to go to the hospital, Battle says, there was a 49% decrease in hospitalizations.

“There was a multi-site approach to doing this,” she said. “We are incredibly proud of it.”

Jill E. Washington