Hospital Consolidation: Can It Work This Time?

One of the consequences of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that it has sparked a giant wave of hospital consolidation: 100 deals were completed in the sector in 2014 — up 14% from the previous year, according to Wall Street research firm Irving Levin Associates.

What’s particularly notable about the recent spate of M&A is that it’s both “horizontal” and “vertical,” meaning hospitals aren’t just buying other hospitals, they’re picking up physician practices, rehabilitation facilities and other ancillary health care providers. Consider New York’s North Shore-LIJ, for example. Its aggressive M&A plan has turned it into the state’s largest employer, encompassing 18 hospitals, plus rehab centers, a medical research center, home-care services and hospice facilities. And last year it began offering health coverage through its own insurance company, CareConnect.

Wharton’s health care experts predict the trend of hospital consolidation will continue at a fast clip, particularly as health systems set up more and more Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in response to the ACA.

Full details: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/hospital-consolidation-can-it-work-this-time/

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Key Trends Facing Private Practice Physicians in the New Year Identified

Physicians in private practice have their non-clinical work cut out for them in the year ahead. Results of the ACA changes, the launch of the federal and state health insurance market places, demanding paperwork burdens, and coming changes in coding requirements and health IT are all issues facing the physicians in 2014.

Among the key trends that seen to be bearing down on practicing physicians are:

 –  Rapidly increasing medical consolidation seen across health care systems and insurance companies alike.

–   The difficulty physicians experience while trying to negotiate favorable terms with payers because  the total number of health insurers has been decreasing for some time as a result of industry consolidation.

–   Physicians are continuing to struggle with a growing regulatory paper work burden.

In addition the recent launch of the health insurance exchanges is already driving high levels of confusion among patients, physicians and employers.

Coping with minimal education and support on the new health insurance exchanges from the government, many private practice physicians are unsure of how these new insurance policies will affect their practices. Continue reading

Model of Highly Coordinated Care Begun By Aetna, Baptist Memorial Health Care

Employers and their workers will get access to what is described as highly coordinated care from physicians and facilities in the Baptist Select Health Alliance, under terms of a collaborative care agreement between Aetna and Baptist Memorial Health Care,  Memphis.

Aim of the collaboration is to bring a “new health care model” to Aetna members and introduce Aetna Whole HealthSM, a commercial health care product, officials said.

The Baptist Select Health Alliance is a clinically Continue reading

Physician Turnover Increases; Competition, Pace of Turnover and Retirements Expected to Increasee

Medical groups reported an average turnover rate of 6.8 percent in 2012, according to the 8th annual Physician Retention Survey.

Likewise, there was turnover of 11.5 percent among advanced practice clinicians (APCs), which includes physician assistants and nurse practitioners, found the survey by Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association (AMGA). Continue reading

Accountable Care Organizations Getting More Scrutiny

A number of independent practice associations (IPAs) and other physician organizations – PHOs, multi-specialty medical groups and hospitals have created new accountable care organizations.

Because we produce the National Directory of Physician Organizations, we naturally are following ACO developments.

ACOs are very much top-of-mind as ACO numbers grow. And with that awareness comes increased attention. Continue reading

Physicians Need To Adapt and Develop A Vision For the Future, IPA-PHO Survey Finds

The resurgence of hospitals buying physician practices, the shortage of primary care physicians, contract and reimbursement models, market consolidation and the pressure to transform primary care practices are among the key issues the leadership of the nation’s physician organizations – PHOs and IPAs are keenly concerned about.

The issues emerged from the results of the IPA -PHO Physician Organization Leadership Survey 2012 by the Managed Care Information Center (MCIC.) Continue reading

Health Systems Seen Needing New Strategies to Reorganize Delivery Models

To succeed in this new post-health reform arena, Health systems should prioritize information technology infrastructure development, information sharing, and timely distribution of information to ensure outstanding patient care, prepare for a patient-centered medical home and bundled payment system, and move toward best practice levels of care coordination, according to Health Strategies & Solutions, a Philadelphia-based consulting firm.

“The Supreme Court decision to uphold the major provisions of the ACA launches a new era in health care in the United States. Development of a robust foundation of primary care services must move to the forefront of strategic priorities for all health care providers,” the firm, with offices in a number of states, says in a white paper.

According to the firm’s white paper “Primary Care In An Era of Healthcare Reform” health care organizations that  Continue reading