Don't Get Sick In Chicago!

Posted By Power Rogers & Smith, P.C. || May 1, 2012

A recent report by Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based health care research foundation, reports that the city of Chicago ranks in the bottom third of 306 health care markets nationwide. According to the report, the city of Chicago is a health care market marked by high costs and poor care.

Surgical Patients Care Chicago

How does the Chicago stack up against other markets?

At its ranking of 215/306, Chicago falls behind:

  • Boston (41)
  • Philadelphia (101)
  • Manhattan (127)
  • Atlanta (166)
  • Detroit (189)
  • The Bronx (206)

Chicago is ahead of these markets:

  • Los Angeles (224)
  • Miami (254)
  • Dallas (266)
  • Memphis, Tenn. (284)

Commonwealth Fund presented a few main reasons for Chicago’s low ranking. Included in the findings were:

  • Only 92.2 percent of patients in the hospital for pneumonia receive the care recommended. The national median is 96.9
  • One-fourth of all Medicare patients are back in the hospital within 30 days. The national median is 17.7 percent.
  • At $10,334 dollars per patient on average, Medicare payments in Chicago are almost 30 percent higher than the national average.
  • Commercial insurance payments, averaging $3,700 per patient, are 12 percent above the national average.

Crain’s Chicago Business published an article in its April 3, 2012 issue titled; Chicago isn’t a good place to be sick: report. The article quoted Cathy Schoen, a co-author of the Commonwealth Fund report and senior vice president at Commonwealth Fund. Ms. Schoen stated that the rankings were reflective of high costs, high rates of uninsured, very high rates of potentially preventable hospital admissions and low rates of preventative care such as screening for breast and colon cancer.

Additionally, the study found more disturbing data concerning performance of healthcare in Chicago:

  • More than 42 percent of the city’s patients did not receive satisfactory pain management and medicine side-effect information, compared with the 36.8 percent median
  • 8 percent of surgical patients did not receive appropriate care to prevent complications, compared with the 3.8 percent national median, the report stated.

Ms. Schoen believes that “[t]hese are all symptomatic of a care system that has access barriers to timely and effective primary care, care in the community and is under-investing in public health.”


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