A recent editorial by Tim Vogus, associate professor of Management at Vanderbilt University, argues that the industry trend of hospital consolidation is not necessarily a good thing for costs, patients, or the healthcare system at large.
Economists and other researchers have been looking at what consolidation, big integrated systems and dwindling competition mean for healthcare. And so far, it looks like consolidation isn’t a cure for high costs or a way to improve care. In fact, it might make it harder for hospitals to deliver care well.
Hospital consolidation is either “horizontal,” like buying a hospital and reducing the number in the market, for instance, or “vertical,” like buying clinics and physician practices.