Hospital System To Choose Suppliers That Offer Insurance
Baptist Health South Florida hospital system has announced plans to give preferential status to suppliers who provide health insurance to their workers, the Miami Herald reports. The effect of the decision could be "widespread" because Baptist works with more than 10,000 vendors, according to the Herald.
The policy "appears to be the first of its kind in South Florida and one of the few in the nation by a nongovernmental body," the Herald reports.
Baptist, which operates five hospitals, does not know how many of its suppliers provide insurance to employees, and details of the arrangement have not been finalized.
Baptist CEO Brian Keeley said the decision is "not going to change the world, but it's going to make a philosophical statement: Treat your employees well."
Baptist spokesperson Jo Baxter said, "All things being equal, the vendor providing insurance will be selected, but in selected instances, on a case-by-case basis, we might actually pay a higher price to a vendor if there wasn't a huge disparity because (Keeley) wants to make a statement."
Paul Ginsberg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, said, "This is very interesting. It pursues a social goal, ... but it's probably going to boost their bottom line, too," because hospitals often absorb the cost of health care services provided to the uninsured.
Rick Wade of the American Hospital Association said "a number" of Catholic hospitals in other parts of the countries have policies similar to Baptist's new policy. "This tends to be done by faith-based systems," Wade said (Dorschner, Miami Herald, 10/31).