A costly side effect of hospital mergers: Higher prices

Filed Under: Costs, Providers

Summary: Mergers and acquisitions have swept the health care landscape. The effects? Higher prices. Greg David writes in Crain’s New York Business, comparing price increases in the New York area (15.3 percent in the last five years) with nationwide increases (12 percent). Click here to read more from the post.

 

 


“New York City hospitals seem to have a thing for suburban Westchester County,” David writes.

“First, Montefiore Medical Center decided to expand its stronghold in the Bronx across the county line, acquiring two bankrupt Westchester hospitals and then luring White Plains Hospital into an affiliation. New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System couldn’t leave such a wealthy market to a rival, so it recruited Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville and Hudson Valley Hospital farther north into its competing alliance.

“While consolidation has been an issue across the country, the pace of hospital mergers has accelerated in New York in recent years to create ever-stronger networks.

“The key players are New York-Presbyterian, Montefiore, Mount Sinai Health System and North Shore-LIJ Health System. NY-Presby illustrates the scope of the consolidation because its affiliates include 10 acute-care hospitals (one in Connecticut), as well as specialty facilities, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and two ambulatory care [centers] ….

“The consequence of consolidation is clear…. Health care costs are rising much faster in the New York area than in the rest of the country. Last year, medical inflation reached 4% here, much more than the overall U.S. figure of 2.6%. During the past five years, health care prices rose 15.3% in the New York metro area, compared with 12% nationally.” Greg David, via “A costly side effect of hospital mergers,” Crain’s New York Business.