KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospital Mergers, Acquisitions And Delivery Of Care Make News

Hospitals in California, New York and across the nation deal with mergers, acquisitions, delivery of care and fines in the marketplace. In the meantime, doctors whose practices were purchased by hospital chains feel increasing pressure to meet financial goals.

The New York Times: A Hospital War Reflects A Bind For Doctors In The U.S.
For decades, doctors in picturesque Boise, Idaho, were part of a tight-knit community, freely referring patients to the specialists or hospitals of their choice and exchanging information about the latest medical treatments. But that began to change a few years ago, when the city’s largest hospital, St. Luke's Health System, began rapidly buying physician practices all over town. ... Across the country, doctors who sold their practices and signed on as employees ... describe growing pressure to meet the financial goals of their new employers -- often by performing unnecessary tests and procedures or by admitting patients who do not need a hospital stay (Creswell and Abelson, 11/30).

Los Angeles Times: South LA Frustrated By Delays In Building New King Hospital
For years, King/Drew provided emergency, trauma and inpatient care to residents from throughout South Los Angeles. After a series of medical errors resulted in patient deaths, Los Angeles County closed it in 2007. County officials promised the community a better, safer new medical center in a few years. But the opening has been repeatedly delayed, and the community is still waiting (Gorman, 12/1).

The New York Times: Leery Of A Merger, A Hospital In Brooklyn Plans To Declare Bankruptcy
A financially troubled hospital serving a largely African-American and Caribbean niche of central Brooklyn is planning to declare bankruptcy this week, hospital officials said on Sunday, raising concerns that New York State may force it to close or merge with another institution (Hartocollis, 11/2).

Los Angeles Times: Santa Monica Hospital Ousts Top Execs, Most Of Its Board
Saint John's Health Center abruptly ousted its top two executives and most of its governing board as the Santa Monica hospital tries to grapple with years of losses and increasing competition from bigger rivals (Terhune, 12/1).

Los Angeles Times: Atascadero Hospital Fined Over Worker Safety Lapses
California workplace safety officials have once again fined a state mental hospital for failing to keep staff members safe from patient assaults. The most serious of the citations issued by Cal/OSHA on Thursday against the Central Coast's Atascadero State Hospital carries a $27,000 fine (Romney, 12/3).

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