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Study: Physician consolidation doesn't improve health care

Hospitals have been buying up physicians' practices at a record clip. But Modern Healthcare flags a new study that found the quality of care isn't improving as a result.

Details: The study compared doctors who were employed by the hospital where they practiced against doctors who contracted with their hospitals.

  • There was no difference in readmission rates between the two groups, and they performed equally well on 21 out of 29 specific quality measures.
  • It is not the first study to reach this conclusion.

Furthermore, hospitals in highly concentrated markets received lower satisfaction scores from their patients.

  • "There are less incentives to keep patients happy when they don't have a competitor down the road to go to," Marah Short, the study's lead author, told Modern Healthcare.

The bottom line: All this consolidation doesn't appear to be improving quality — and it's not lowering costs, either.

Go deeper: Hospital mergers don't really lower some costs