Hospitals are setting the stage for rising costs and access problems with a building boom aimed at medical-surgical care, profitable specialties and affluent, well-insured suburbs, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change.
Competition with physicians appears to be a driving force, the center said in an issue brief based on preliminary findings from a study of 12 nationally representative U.S. communities.
"Whether meeting or creating new demand, these capacity expansions are destined to lead to higher rates of care use," the center said. Such growth fuels demand for already sought-after nurses and threatens hospitals in declining areas. Meanwhile, safety net providers are reporting a "noticeable uptick" in uninsured patients, the center said.