IU Health plans to build, but does Fort Wayne need another hospital? Harvard University expert weighs in

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 11:47 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Fort Wayne has no shortage of healthcare providers with Parkview and Lutheran each operating several hospitals and a number of clinics and now IU health making plans to disrupt the marketplace with a massive new hospital.

Harvard Health Care Policy Professor Dr. Anupam Jena says he thinks a new hospital here would be a good thing. He points to the additional beds that would be available to patients and the potential for competitive prices on medical procedures and treatments.

Afterall, IU health would have to win customers from Lutheran or Parkview. That could force the those legacy healthcare groups to offer new services or cut their prices.

Beyond the medical benefits, are also economic ones. Jena says those shouldn’t be discounted.

“What happens when you have a huge employer that enters a market with hundreds of employers,” Jena said. “You have new markets and new stores. My guess is that the community overall will be better off with having a hospital there.”

It could be a challenge to staff the hospital. Indiana has a tremendous shortage of healthcare workers, but Jena thinks workers from outside the area could move to Fort Wayne to take good paying jobs.

Experts say this market may be ready for disruption. Lutheran’s parent company has struggled with finances and has sold off hospitals in other states, while making drastic changes and cuts at its Fort Wayne operations.

A 2020 study by the Rand Corporation found that Parkview charges the second highest prices for healthcare in the country.

Meanwhile, IU health has faced criticism for high fees and profits too. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, IU Health brought in nearly $8 billion in revenue last year.

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