Hospitals’ Purchase Of Doctors’ Practices Boosts Costs, Study Finds
Hospital ownership of physician groups increased patient care costs by as much as 20 percent, according to the UC Berkeley study. Meanwhile, another study by Harvard researchers finds that switching to for-profit status may boost hospitals' financial health but has no effect on quality of care.
Los Angeles Times: Medical Costs Up To 20% Higher At Hospital-Owned Physician Groups, Study Finds
Raising fresh questions about healthcare consolidation, a new study shows hospital ownership of physician groups in California led to 10% to 20% higher costs overall for patient care. The UC Berkeley research, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, illustrates the financial risks for employers, consumers and taxpayers as hospital systems nationwide acquire more physician practices (Terhune, 10/21).
Modern Healthcare: Hospitals Switching To For-Profit See No Drop In Quality
Switching to for-profit status generally boosts hospitals financial health and has no effect—good or bad—on the quality of care they deliver, according to a new analysis of what happened in the years after more than 200 conversions. “For-profit hospitals have often argued that conversion will provide resources that will lead to better care,” wrote Harvard University researchers Dr. Karen Joynt, Dr. Ashish Jha and John Orav in a study published in JAMA. “Our study failed to find any evidence to support this notion,” they concluded. ... Some states have limited the entry of for-profit hospital operators out of fear that the profit motive would undermine hospitals' quality and their commitment to serving the uninsured and patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid (Rice, 10/21).
In other hospital news -
Kaiser Health News: Hospitals’ Struggles To Beat Back Familiar Infections Began Before Ebola Arrived
While Ebola stokes public anxiety, more than one in six hospitals — including some top medical centers — are having trouble stamping out less exotic but sometimes deadly infections, federal records show. Nationally, about one in every 25 hospitalized patients gets an infection, and 75,000 people die each year from them—more than from car crashes and gun shots combined. A Kaiser Health News analysis found 695 hospitals with higher than expected rates for at least one of the six types of infections tracked by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 13 states and the District of Columbia, a quarter or more of hospitals that the government evaluated were rated worse than average for at least one infection category, the KHN analysis found (Rau, 10/21).