This Rural Stretch Had Fewer Hospital Beds Per Person Than Afghanistan, So Residents Tried To Open Their Own
But then a larger hospital in Naples, Fla. derailed those plans by asking the state to deny the proposal, saying that the small, rural hospital would siphon away patients and revenue. “It’s just horribly mean,” Dr. Beau Braden said. Meanwhile, growing consolidation among hospitals and doctors’ practices in California is linked to higher health insurance premiums and higher prices for care.
The New York Times:
A Rural Town Banded Together To Open A Hospital. Its Foe? A Larger Hospital.
Not long after Beau Braden moved to southwest Florida to open a medical clinic, injured strangers started showing up at his house. A boy who had split open his head at the pool. People with gashes and broken bones. There was nowhere else to go after hours, they told him, so Dr. Braden stitched them up on his dining room table. They were 40 miles inland from the coral-white condos and beach villas of Naples, but Dr. Braden said that this rural stretch of Collier County, with tomato farms and fast-growing exurbs, had fewer hospital beds per person than Afghanistan. (Healy, 9/5)
Health Systems Driving Prices Higher With Physician Group Purchases
Insurance premiums and outpatient prices spiked as California health systems have snatched up physician groups, new research shows. In 41 highly concentrated California counties, the percentage of hospital-employed physicians increased from about 25% in 2010 to more than 40% in 2016, according to a new Health Affairs study. (Kacik, 9/4)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Hospital Consolidation In California Linked To Higher Health Prices
There are several reasons a doctors’ practice owned by a hospital or hospital chain can charge higher prices. A hospital can tack on what’s called a facility fee, which pays for overhead costs like building maintenance. And a doctors’ practice acquired by a larger, well-known health system like Stanford or UCSF could seek to charge higher prices because of its parent’s name. (Ho, 9/4)
In other hospital news —
HCA Acquires North Cypress Medical Center
HCA Houston Healthcare has completed the acquisition of North Cypress Medical Center, a 139-bed hospital at 21214 Northwest Freeway near Huffmeister in the northwest Houston area. The hospital, founded by physicians in 2006, expands HCA's Gulf Coast network to 18 hospitals in the Gulf Coast division. The deal includes four freestanding emergency centers in Barker Cypress, Spring Cypress, Fairfield and Texas 249. (Feser, 9/4)
Portland's Psychiatric ER Has 7 More Weeks To Fix Serious Safety Problems
Portland's imperiled psychiatric center has seven more weeks before it could lose a crucial federal certification. The Oregon Health Authority confirmed Tuesday that Unity Center for Behavioral Health has until Oct. 31 to fix significant safety issues. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last month gave Unity officials a second list of problems to fix and extended the time Unity has to make improvements. It previously faced a deadline of Sept. 11. (Harbarger, 9/4)