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News Bits from MichUHCAN March 1999 Newsletter

In 1998, suburban Detroit hospitals made money and inner-city hospitals lost a lot. The urban hospitals have a higher proportion of Medicare and Medicaid patients and treat more uninsured people. In 1997, Michigan forced Medicaid beneficiaries into HMOs, cutting payments to hospitals by about 20%.

Detroit hospitals plan to eliminate a total of 3,050 jobs in 1999, plus the closing of DMC's Sinai Hospital.

A Berkeley High School honor student was arrested for robbing a gas station in order to feed her drug addiction. She had been in a drug rehab program but was forced out when her mother's insurance cut off coverage.

Southeast Michigan Medicaid recipients will be finding their choices dwindling. A Pontiac physicians network said it will cut its Medicaid membership by half, affecting about 3,400 people. The docs said they are losing too much money on reimbursements through area HMOs. And the Health Alliance Plan, a subsidiary of Henry Ford, froze its Medicaid enrollment at 42,000 because of financial losses from the program.

Representatives of the Service Employees International Union, which represents many DMC workers, reported that the financially strapped DMC is paying more than $7000 per day, plus living expenses, to consultants from the Hunter Group. the consultants will no doubt predict continuing losses.