Things got quiet after a wave of hospital systems' acquiring physician practices swept through central Indiana from 2008 to 2011. But a new wave could start now that Congress passed the "doc fix" last week.
IU Health had one of its most profitable years ever in 2014, as it cut staff, boosted its physician office visits and improved bill collections. But it is still hoarding cash to be ready for future cuts in reimbursement as well as future building projects.
For years, employers have focused on preventing huge health bills that can result from their older workers. But now Leonard Hoops, the CEO of Visit Indy, is trying to get employers to focus on the costs of the youngest members of their health plans: premature babies.
Through partnerships with county-owned hospitals, Indiana's nursing homes pulled in about $260 million last year in extra federal funds. That means participating nursing homes enjoyed a 10 percent bonus check.
After cutting staff sharply in 2013, Franciscan enjoyed more revenue and big profits in 2014. The key question for its and other hospitals' future is whether they can keep up these gains in productivity to handle looming payment cuts from Obamacare.
Roughly 150,000 Hoosiers are counting on more than $450 million in federal tax credits to make their Obamacare health insurance affordable. But if the Supreme Court rules those tax credits unlawful, Obamacare premiums here would spike 271 percent.