Hospital mergers in Colorado

Eric Whitney Oct 25, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Hospital mergers in Colorado

Eric Whitney Oct 25, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Steve Chiotakis: President Obama travels to Colorado today, campaigning for his jobs bill — and for re-election. The president’s taken a lot of flack on his health care law from potential challengers on the GOP side — a law that’s helped drive some big hospital mergers across the country.

From Colorado Public Radio, Eric Whitney reports.


Eric Whitney: This year is on track to be the biggest year ever for hospital mergers and acquisitions nationwide. In Denver, hospital giant HCA just bought out its junior partner in a $1.5 billion transaction. Two more deals involving at least six more hospitals statewide are in the works.

Steven Summer is head of the Colorado Hospital Association. He says the mergers should mean better, cheaper care for patients.

Steven Summer: If you can consolidate and get economies of scale, it’s shown to be much more effective.

Translation: it’s cheaper for one administration to run several hospitals than them all running themselves.

The federal health reform law also aims to squeeze more efficiency. It changes the way hospitals and doctors get paid. Its goal is to keep people healthy, and only do procedures that are absolutely necessary, instead of maximizing the number of tests.

Again, Steven Summer.

Summer: I think we’re going to see that if the payment system that’s in the affordable care act is allowed to be implemented.

The congressional super committee is looking at chopping some of the health care law’s payment incentives. Then there’s the expected Supreme Court case on the law’s constitutionality. Experts say those uncertainties are actually slowing the hospital merger trend.

In Denver, I’m Eric Whitney for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.