Hospital Merger Trend Could Drive Up Costs for Patients
The growing trend of hospital mergers is creating large-scale hospital systems that some economists and health care stakeholders say could dominate the health care system and increase costs for consumers. Hospital executives say that they are limited in their options to deal with the host of expected payment changes but that mergers help increase their standing and negotiating power with insurers. The consulting firm Booz & Company predicts that 1,000 of the nation's nearly 5,000 hospitals could seek mergers within the next five to seven years.
- "New Laws and Rising Costs Create a Surge of Supersizing Hospitals" (Creswell/Abelson, New York Times, 8/12).