Specialty Hospitals Have Limited Effect on Competitors
The presence of specialty hospitals in a market neither makes general hospitals more efficient nor prompts them to provide additional clinical services to offset lost revenue from competition, according to a report recently released by the Government Accountability Office, CQ HealthBeat reports. For the report, GAO surveyed 600 general hospitals with and without specialty hospitals in their markets.
The report finds that 91% of general hospitals reported increases in competition from "limited-service facilities," which include specialty hospitals and medical imaging facilities. General hospitals also reported that they made an average of 22 operational changes and eight clinical service changes between 2000 and 2005, regardless of the presence of specialty hospitals in their markets, according to the report.
The report concludes, "Although specialty hospital advocates have hypothesized that the entrance of a specialty hospital into a market encourages the area's existing general hospitals to adopt changes that make them more efficient and able to compete, the survey responses largely did not support this view."
The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.
In related news, CMS on Tuesday released a report about agency efforts to regulate specialty hospitals.
CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said that the report "sets out the steps we are taking to get more accurate information about the role specialty hospitals play in health care delivery and the steps we are taking to promote effective care in specialty hospitals" (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 5/9).