The Urge to Merge

Bigger is better, right? Often, that depends on who you ask. When it comes to hospital mergers, we understand some think bigger is better and some don’t…..so, we are taking a hard look at this important policy question.

We’re not alone. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy recently put a freeze on major hospital mergers and acquisitions until next year. From the Hartford Courant:

“With continuing changes in the health care industry, it is critical that our state laws ensure that all hospitals continue to thrive, and that the deck is not stacked in favor of fewer than a handful that dominate the marketplace,” Malloy said. “We need balance. Fewer health care systems mean fewer choices for consumers, and that can dramatically affect both the quality of care and costs. It’s time we take a holistic look at the acquisition process.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona put together a recent video that suggests that consolidation is one of the main reasons for the rising costs of healthcare. Click here or on the video below to watch.

bcbs

The concerns that often surround major mergers in health and healthcare are nothing new. In fact, we wrote a blog on the merger between Pfizer and Allergen late last year, where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton were both quoted as saying they opposed the merger.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released a report late last year titled, “The Potential Hazards of Hospital Consolidation.” Part of that article read:

What are the implications of these new hospital conglomerates, especially in regions where one health system dominates the medical care of a population? This Viewpoint considers the implications of the growing trend of hospital consolidation with respect to quality, access, and price.

That said – many people believe there are benefits to hospital mergers. Fierce Healthcare wrote, “While the conventional wisdom says that consolidation hurts care access and competition, one physician believes that when hospitals merge, patients actually benefit. (The thought is that) Hospital mergers will help patients by consolidating medical records electronically and coordinating care between institutions, which will eliminate redundant costs and treatments.”

Now it’s your turn – let us know what you think about hospital mergers in Arizona. Are they good for patients, or will they drive down competition and drive up costs? Talking about these issues, whether we all agree or not, will help us do the one thing we can all agree upon…..it will help us reach our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

 

 

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