Illinois hospitals shift to consumer convenience

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CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois hospitals are extending services beyond their walls in a twin bid to improve health and capture more business. Fitness centers, urgent care clinics and dental practices run by hospitals are no longer unusual ventures.

A new report details the changing health care landscape, finding two out of five Illinois hospitals operate freestanding outpatient clinics and one in three run fitness centers.

The Illinois Hospital Association report finds that hospitals contribute $83.4 billion to the state's economy in direct and indirect spending.

Hospitals are among the top three employers in nearly half the state's counties. They employ the equivalent of 200,000 full-time workers and indirectly spur employment for another 250,000 workers.

The association shared the report with The Associated Press ahead of its official release on Monday.

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