Rising benefits costs drove increased operating losses at U of Illinois hospital system

A 28 percent increase in employee pensions and benefits pushed operating losses up 22 percent to $178.1 million at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System in Chicago, Crain's Chicago Healthcare Daily reported.

The losses came even as admissions and emergency room visits hit five-year highs, according to the article, based on the hospital's financial statement for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Total operating expenses rose 7.6 percent to $787.4 million because of the increase in benefits, Crain's reported. And charity care costs increased 19 percent to $21.2 million. Employee salaries increased 1.5 percent to $286.5 million.

The university medical center issued $70.8 million in bonds last fall to finance renovations on its campus, including a new observation unit and additional technology, according to the article. The bond issue prompted Standard & Poor's Rating Services to revise its outlook on the hospital system from stable to negative, according to the report.

Noting that employee benefits are one of the largest expenses for employers, Hospital Impact guest blogger Kevin L. Shrake, executive vice president and chief operating officer of MDR, says that leveraged aggregated benefit programs can help hospitals and healthcare organizations cut benefit costs by 25 percent.

For more information:
- read the Crain's article

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