Press Release | HC3 releases “The Challenging Future of the Chicago Safety Net" White Paper

Chicago, IL, February 26, 2021 – The Health Care Council of Chicago (HC3), with support from Medical Home Network and Sinai Chicago, is pleased to announce the release of “The Challenging Future of the Chicago Safety Net” – a white paper examining the financial vitality of safety net hospitals serving the city’s south and west side neighborhoods.


Using retrospective financial data, the paper illustrates that the city’s safety net hospitals will collectively bear $1.76 billion in compounded operating losses by 2024, not accounting for the financial duress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deepening recession, and any other substantial changes to volumes or costs since 2018 (the period through which our modeling is based).


“Chicago’s safety net status quo has run out of runway,” said David Smith, CEO and Founder of Third Horizon Strategies and Co-Founder of HC3. “Despite significant taxpayer investments, health outcomes have not generally improved, access to important health services have maintained a staggering disparity with the rest of the city, and the structural integrity of the institutions that provide thousands of jobs stands at a fracturing point.”


The report highlights the key health and social outcomes that have remained stuck, and comments on the persistent health disparities despite significant investments. “Compared to the broader city of Chicago, the south and west sides generally have alarming access gaps to medical, mental health, and social resources, said Karen Teitelbaum, CEO of Sinai Chicago. “Without meaningful transformative action from the market and policy makers, already scarce health services for south and west side residents are at risk of further erosion.”


Lastly, the publication outlines key considerations for policy makers and six environmental factors that support taking action now. “We need a new playbook that aims to realign our collective expectations regarding resources and allows us to focus on difficult political decisions, said Cheryl Lulias, CEO of Medical Home Network. “If done right, capital can be better focused to equip institutions with the resources that serve their highest and best needs in the community rather than closing their doors to those in most need.”


On March 18, HC3 will host a virtual event examining the paper’s collective findings. A panel of health care thought leaders will discuss the economic, political, and structural barriers to a sustainable system and offer ways policymakers and providers can embrace a transformative approach to Chicago’s indispensable safety net. Panel participants include:


· Brenda Battle, Vice President, Urban Health Initiative and Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer, UChicago Medicine

· Cheryl Lulias, CEO, Medical Home Network

· Karen Teitelbaum, CEO, Sinai Chicago


The white paper can be downloaded on the HC3 website here. Register for the free event on March 18 here.


About The Health Care Council of Chicago (HC3)

The Health Care Council of Chicago (HC3) is Chicago’s nationally recognized health care community in action. The organization harnesses the collective intelligence and resources of Chicago’s health care leaders to drive meaningful change and positively influence the conditions that impact the health of the area’s communities. The Health Care Council of Chicago is an initiative managed by Third Horizon Strategies. Visit www.HC3.health for more information.