Healthcare News: Healthcare Reform Puts Pressure on Hospitals to Merge
An article recently published in the Buck’s County Courier Times reported that healthcare reform is putting pressure on hospitals to develop partnerships with other facilities. Consolidating hospitals, according to the article, can help save financially troubled facilities and can also improve patient care through better physician communication and coordination.
Prime Healthcare recently bought Lower Buck’s Hospital in an attempt to save the 156-bed facility in Buck’s County, PA that emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy protections less than a year ago. According to Prime Healthcare, its motto and goal is to “save hospitals, save jobs, and save lives” through acquiring financially struggling hospitals. Prime Healthcare spokesman Edward Barrera told the Courier Times that “many hospitals across the country are also merging in an effort to take advantage of the benefits offered by Affordable Care Act.”
Healthcare reform offers a financial incentive to hospitals that exhibit improved quality care, reduced costs, and heightened patient experience; merging facilities is considered by many hospitals to be an effective means of achieving these demands. A merger offers financial stability for struggling hospitals and can also create a stronger continuum of care that could lead to improved patient experience and fewer readmissions, which would, in turn, reduce costs.
Joseph Lupica, chairman of the healthcare consulting firm Newpoint Healthcare Advisors, stated in regard to facility partnerships, “Hospitals must be more willing to collaborate in providing services to patients.” In order for mergers to be successful, all parties must decide if they are willing to participate in a broader network of shared care, which might mean a reduction in power and presence for the larger facilities.
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