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A “have not” health system bravely faces its challenges

Posted Feb 23 2009 10:14pm

In a recent interview, Alan Channing, president and CEO of Sinai Health Systems in Chicago, discussed the challenges that his “have not” health system faces on a daily basis. While many hospitals are encountering barriers with halted construction projects, access to capital, and increasing supply chain costs during this difficult economic downturn, anarticle in The Wall Street Journalclearly depicted Mount Sinai’s struggles as it pursues its charitable mission as a safety net provider. Everything this faith-based organization believes and achieves flows from the concept oftikkun olam, a Hebrew phrase meaning “repairing the universe.”

With 60 percent of its revenue from Medicaid, of which the state of Illinois pays about 74 cents per dollar of hospital cost, it was critical that Mr. Channing and his dedicated staff design and implement strategies to address such challenges as ER throughput and community health and wellness, while still providing top quality care. To learn more about these solutions, listen to the 15-minute interview, in which he also cautions not-for-profit hospitals that are unable to define their community benefit. As Mr. Channing stresses, it’s imperative for all hospitals to fully understand how they’re making a tangible difference in the health of their communities, rather than constructing “just another pretty building.”

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