Tag Archives: mergers

Do consumers benefit when health insurers own providers?

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Whenever a major merger is announced in health care, the parties routinely tout the benefits for consumers, saying costs will decline and quality will improve. But do the facts bear out these claims?

During the press events announcing these deals, there’s no way to know. Researchers would need a baseline and several years of data to verify the merging partners’ claims and even then such results such as lower costs and improved quality take years to accumulate and measure. Continue reading

As major mergers transform local health care, covering the business side is key

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Every few months a health insurance news story breaks that’s so big it is likely to require reporters unfamiliar with the beat to get up to speed quickly on how insurance works. A recent case in point came in February when a former medical director for Aetna admitted in a pre-trial deposition that he never looked at a patient’s medical record when approving or denying care. Continue reading

#AHCJ18 panel to examine impact of hospital consolidations on costs

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Last year, there were 115 hospital and health system mergers and acquisitions – the highest number recorded in recent history, according to a report from Kaufman, Hall & Associates, a management consulting company that tracks M&A deals in health care.

The number and size of these transactions are transforming the health care system, the company said: “The implications reach far beyond the unprecedented number of individual transactions. Organizational size and scale have mattered for decades – but today, they are proving to be imperatives.” Continue reading

Mergers may transform health care as insurers encourage moving patients into lower cost sites of care

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr

For decades, those who pay for health care have urged providers to move patients out of hospitals into lower cost settings such as home care and doctors’ offices.

That trend is accelerating today as seen in recent mergers involving insurers, pharmacies and providers. Continue reading

#AHCJ16 session to tackle how consumers might benefit if they shop for care based on price

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Source: Health Care Pricing ProjectResearch from the Health Care Pricing Project shows that among 15 hospitals in Philadelphia, the price of a lower-limb MRI varied so much that a consumer going to the highest-priced hospital would pay six times more than that same consumer would pay at the lowest-priced hospital.

Source: Health Care Pricing ProjectResearch from the Health Care Pricing Project shows that among 15 hospitals in Philadelphia, the price of a lower-limb MRI varied so much that a consumer going to the highest-priced hospital would pay six times more than that same consumer would pay at the lowest-priced hospital.

It’s no secret that health care prices nationwide vary widely from one market to the next, and even within individual markets. A panel on hospital mergers during AHCJ’s Health Journalism 2016 conference in Cleveland will examine the many factors driving these variations in hospital prices. We’ll also discuss how consumers can shop more effectively for the lowest-priced care.

The session, “Merger mania of health providers and the rise of dominant and potential monopolies,” will be 4:40-6 p.m. on Saturday, April 9. Continue reading

Here’s some guidance on understanding the hospital consolidation trend

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Photo: Mark via Flickr

Photo: Mark via Flickr

Hospitals have been merging and acquiring physician practices at a breakneck pace. They say it’s what they have to do to save money on big-ticket items like health care information technology, and to move toward the coordinated care models encouraged by the Affordable Care Act.

But insurers, state attorneys general and federal antitrust enforcers have a different take. They say consolidation can give hospitals monopoly power to drive up prices and hurt consumers. Continue reading