Critical Condition: The State of Health Care in Pennsylvania - News Release

Contact: Joe Martin, Communications Director
717-232-6787 or


Harrisburg, PA - October 05, 2007 - A new government report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) termed the state's health care system in “critical condition.”

Critical Condition: The State of Health Care in Pennsylvania was designed to provide a “big picture” view of the impact of health care on Pennsylvania's economy, and a different approach to broad topics, such as health care spending, health insurance coverage and costs, provider and insurer finances, supply and utilization trends, and health status.

“The report, which is a compilation of information from PHC4 data as well as a variety of outside sources, shows that every sector is affected by the state's health care crisis,” said Marc P. Volavka, PHC4’s Executive Director. “That's why the Council's various stakeholders who represent labor, business, physicians, hospitals, insurers, nurses and other groups are united in their agreement and concerns about the gravity of this issue.”

“Unfortunately, the report shows that most of the state's health care trends are headed in the wrong direction,” noted Volavka. “Over the past decade, personal health care spending, health insurance premiums, the uninsured population, and the number of hospitals in financial distress have all increased. However, we also have seen lagging Medicare reimbursements to hospitals, a decline in the number of Pennsylvanians with job-based health coverage and in the number of acute care hospitals, and a worsening of our health status in certain key areas.”

“Pennsylvania businesses are deeply concerned about this problem,” said David R. Kreider, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's Vice President, Operations and Treasurer and PHC4's Chairman. “Rising health care costs are an increasing burden for Pennsylvania employers trying to compete in a global economy.”

“Workers across the state are shouldering more of the burden for soaring health care costs, or going without coverage altogether,” said David H. Wilderman of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and PHC4's Vice-Chairman. “With health insurance premiums rising faster than overall inflation and workers' earnings, family budgets are being squeezed tighter than ever.”

According to PHC4, by showing how various stakeholders all have a role to play, Critical Condition illustrates how meaningful health care reform will require the collective will of diverse constituencies working together in an aggressive and coordinated fashion.

The report was developed through PHC4's Education Committee under the leadership of former Council member David B. Acker. Mr. Acker is the former CEO of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport, PA and currently the CEO at Canton-Potsdam Hospital in Potsdam, NY.

“PHC4 owes a huge debt of gratitude to David Acker for his contribution to this publication,” said Mr. Volavka. “His thoughtful guidance, leadership and input were essential in spearheading this new report, as was the work of PHC4's Education Committee.”

Key findings: (Sources are footnoted in the full report.)

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania. Copies of Critical Condition: The State of Health Care in Pennsylvania are free and available on PHC4's website at