Austin Frakt writing at The Incidental Economist points out a small difference of opinion between the Federation of American Hospitals and a comprehensive literature review. It seems the industry organization sees consolidation as wonderful and offering a wide range of benefits to consumers and communities. While academics reviewing the literature see it a bit differently.
- Consolidation drives higher prices
- Physician-hosital consolidation has not improved quality or reduced costs.
- Consolidation is done to improve bargaining power and leverage over payers.
Not surprising at all.
Addendum: The New York Times has a piece “Hospital Chain Said to Scheme to Inflate Bills”
The lawsuits describe a wide-ranging strategy that is said to have relied on a mix of sophisticated software systems, financial incentives and threats in an attempt to inflate the company’s payments from Medicare and Medicaid by admitting patients like an infant whose temperature was a normal 98.7 degrees for a “fever.”
Someone needs a PR firm to show this is a benefit to patients and community.