Hospitals Becoming More Economically Competitive, Report Finds
A "fundamental shift" has occurred in the way economic power is held and used in health care business relationships, according to the "California Health Care Market Report 2004" released Wednesday by the California HealthCare Foundation, the Stockton Record reports. "Hospitals and medical groups once were partners, but they are now more likely to be competitors whose economic interests are more in conflict than alignment," Allan Baumgarten, an independent research consultant commissioned by CHCF, said. The report found that:
- Declining demand for managing the care of large numbers of patients enrolled in capitated HMO plans challenges medical groups because that task once was their central role;
- Variation in practice and performance is a key issue in payment systems, physician organizations and issues such as patient safety;
- Providers' negotiation power has been strengthened because of the perception that hospitals and physicians are limited in their capacity; and
- The largest health plans and purchasers have a large impact on the market (Stockton Record, 4/10).
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