Thursday, April 03, 2008

Hospitals Bleeding Red Ink

A feature in today's Chicago Tribune and Chicago SunTimes was the closing of St. Francis Hospital in Blue Island, as South Suburb of Chicago. SSM Health Care, the owner of this hospital said "the hospital is racking up huge losses" and that "other hospitals that serve large populations of uninsured or under insured patients could follow St. Francis' path.

This reminds me of a Chicago Tribune article of July 10, 2002, with the headline of "Financial hemorage", and a subhead saying "Hospitals serving the poor are bleeding red ink as the uninsured ranks grow, health-care costs climb, and more government cutbacks loom."

I've had a strategy to prevent this on the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site since 2002. It's a Hospital T/MC Leadership Strategy. You can view it here.

My belief is that hospital leaders who support the growth of comprehensive volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in the geographic area of the hospital, and use those programs to deliver preventative health messages to youth and families, can not only reduce the number of visits to the emergency room, but can also address another cost of operations by encouraging young people to consider careers in health care.

Read the pdf and look at some of the links posted on the T/MC web site. If you're a board member, doctor, leader of an inner city hospital, or a community leader in a neighborhood that may lose its hospital, I encourage you to bring some of your peers to the May Tutor/Mentor Conference in Chicago and begin investigating ways you can take this leadership role in your community.

The costs to be a leader are low because you're mobilizing others who are doing business, operating churches or universities in the region to share the costs of having tutor/mentor programs in the neighborhood. Your role, as the major business in many of these communities is a leader, a mobilizer, and an advocate, using your facility as a meeting place, and encouraging your medical personnel to be mentors.

If you'd like help understanding this, email and let us help you.

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