“Whether these new hospital competitive strategies will raise costs, improve care or both is hotly debated—payers and competitors contend such strategies will lead to higher costs, while hospitals assert the expansions will increase efficiency, increase access and improve the quality of patient care,” said Dr. Emily Carrier, Center for Studying Health System Change senior researcher, in a news release.
It was noted in the report that all three strategies are in play in the Indianapolis and Phoenix markets.
The other 10 markets studied were Boston; Cleveland; Greenville, S.C.; Lansing, Mich.; Little Rock, Ark.; Miami, Fla.; northern New Jersey; Orange County, Calif.; Seattle; and Syracuse, N.Y. The researchers conducted 539 interviews with local healthcare leaders in these communities between March and October 2010. The center has studied these 12 communities roughly every two years since 1996.
In the Greenville market, it was noted that hospital systems are targeting the affluent suburb of Greer. In Florida, the same was being done in Kendall, an unincorporated community outside of Miami, and—in Seattle—hospitals systems have set their sights on the suburbs of Mill Creek and Redmond.
It was also noted how the Cleveland Clinic was “creating major turmoil” by moving into outpatient buildings located near major roadways and housing their salaried physicians in these outlying areas.
The report noted how the dominant systems often “had easy access to capital and significant negotiating leverage with private payers to ensure favorable rates and provide a return on hospitals' investments.”