Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s partnership with Yale New Haven Health System, New Haven, Conn., signals growing opportunities for investor-owned chains in the Northeast region, which has been reluctant to welcome for-profit healthcare. But the new affiliation also highlights state regulators' unease with for-profit operators and other market-driven changes as providers buy more physician practices and assume more financial risk for patient outcomes.
“The reality of the marketplace is that we are moving to a point of mergers and consolidation,” said Angela Mattie, an associate professor of management at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. “It's less about who's delivering care and more about what the care is and are we delivering the best value possible.”
Like many states in New England and the mid-Atlantic region, Connecticut has tried to limit corporate influence in healthcare. Its broad corporate-practice-of-medicine restrictions on who can employ doctors have been a barrier for companies like Dallas-based Tenet that are moving toward integrated delivery networks and risk-based payment.
Discussions around a partnership with Yale New Haven began when Nashville-based Vanguard Health Systems, which Tenet acquired last October, began looking at hospital acquisitions in Connecticut. Letters of intent currently are in place with Waterbury Hospital, Bristol Hospital, and the Eastern Connecticut Health Network, a two-hospital group with facilities in Manchester and Rockville.