Dr Paul B. Ginsburg on the Downsides of Hospital Consolidation

Hospital consolidation has resulted in fewer choices for physicians and higher costs for patients, insurers, and taxpayers, according to Paul B. Ginsburg, PhD, the Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and a professor of health policy at the University of Southern California.

Hospital consolidation has resulted in fewer choices for physicians and higher costs for patients, insurers, and taxpayers, according to Paul B. Ginsburg, PhD, the Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and a professor of health policy at the University of Southern California.

Transcript (slightly modified)

What impact does increased hospital consolidation have on patients, physicians, and the overall healthcare market?

Physicians are not fans of hospital consolidation because it really reduces some of their choices in their practice. Also, in this era of bundled payments and accountable care organizations, it just means fewer potential partners for them, just less ability to steer patients to the facilities that they think are most comfortable and are most efficient.

As far as patients go, consolidation to me is clearly a negative, and the biggest negative is on the price. And when I say the price, I’m talking not just about what they pay for hospital care, but what they pay for insurance, what their employer pays for insurance, and what we taxpayers pay to subsidize private insurance. So the literature on hospital consolidation raising prices is very solid.