Jan 2, 2020

Study: Hospital mergers don't improve quality of care

Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Measures of patient satisfaction and clinical care at hospitals that have been acquired by other hospital systems either declined or did not significantly change, indicating there is "no evidence of quality improvement attributable to changes in [hospital] ownership," according to a new independent study conducted by economists and physician researchers.

The bottom line: Research has already shown hospital mergers, which have boomed over the past 20 years, raise prices. Analysis now shows, contrary to the hospital industry's assertions, that mergers also do nothing to make patient care better.

Go deeper: A reality check on hospital mergers

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Podcast: America's hospital merger mess

There have been hundreds of hospital mergers over the past few years, even though independent research shows that they increase costs, decrease patient satisfaction and have little impact on clinical outcomes. Dan digs in with Axios' Bob Herman.

Go deeper: A reality check on hospital mergers

Hospitals' dueling financial realities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As hospital prices rise and much of the sector continues to rake in cash, rural hospitals continue to shutter.

Why it matters: There's no way to address U.S. health care spending without cutting hospital costs. But blanket cuts could hurt hospitals that are already struggling to keep their doors open, leaving vulnerable patients without access to care.

Go deeperArrowJan 13, 2020

Hospitals say they want affordable care, but actions aren't clear

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Hospitals acknowledged to investors at this year's J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that their industry is contributing to patients' financial turmoil.

Yes, but: Hospitals reassured those same investors that they were focused on growing their revenue, with no real details about how that would save patients money.

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020