End the duopoly

Greater financial integration generally not associated with better healthcare quality

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain The COVID-19 pandemic has led to severe financial stress for both hospitals and physician practices, raising serious concerns that many may either close or be purchased by larger organizations. Such consolidation is well-recognized to lead to higher prices. Whether it will lead to better quality of care is less clear.

A new study published in the August Issue of Health Affairs , based on the first comprehensive national survey of physician practices, hospitals and health systems, found that larger, more integrated systems do not generally deliver better quality. “We looked at a broad range of quality measures and compared independent hospitals and practices with those owned by different kinds of health systems,” said Elliott Fisher, MD, MPH, lead author and professor of medicine and health policy at Dartmouth. “In no case was ownership by larger, more complex health systems associated with better quality.”

Another key finding from the study was the remarkable degree of variation in quality scores across hospitals and physician practices, regardless of whether they were independent or owned by larger systems. “This degree of variation points to tremendous opportunities to improve the quality of care in both hospitals and practices,” said Stephen Shortell, Ph.D., […]

read more here —> medicalxpress.com

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