Rising Health-Care Costs Hit State HMOs, Hospitals

Article excerpt

By Lou Anne Wolfe Journal Record Staff Reporter Rising health-care costs may have helped push the number of Oklahomans enrolled in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to 188,241 people last year _ a 91.7 percent increase from 98,180 in 1985.

A 1991 study by Arthur Andersen & Co. and the American College of Healthcare Executives also showed that 17 Oklahoma hospitals were closed during that five-year period. In January, HealthCare Investment Analysts reported the number of distressed Oklahoma hospitals at 42.

Oklahoma's health-care workforce of 116,700 people in June 1990 was 9.77 percent of the state's total non-agricultural workforce of 1.19 million people, the report said.

The report, titled "The Future of Healthcare: Physician and Hospital Relations," is a "Delphi" study, whose objective is to obtain a consensus of opinion on trends. The Delphi forecasting method is to question professionals who independently consider the issues and predict future developments.

Thirteen Oklahoma health care providers and payors were among 2,600 who participated in the study, Arthur Andersen said. Forecasts in the previous studies have proven valid.

The study predicted that health-care's share of the nation's Gross National Product will rise to at least 13 percent by 1996, and the nation will spend more than $1 trillion, or $3,900 a person, on health care that year.

As federal funding for health care continues to be curbed, more people will enroll in managed health-care plans that put tighter controls on costs and utilization, the study said. …

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