Who Makes Sure Religion - Hospital Mergers Do No Harm? — Pacific Standard
Sometimes the loss of services is ideological: As ProPublica and Mother Jones have reported, the expansion of Catholic hospitals in Washington State has led to restrictions on women’s health services and end-of-life counseling. Other times it’s just the bottom line: Expensive services such as pediatrics, obstetrics, emergency room, and neo-natal intensive care may be downsized when a non-profit hospital is taken over by a for-profit one, according to the report.
Even when state regulatory programs exist, they often fail to protect consumers from reductions in health-care services. That’s because state oversight programs were largely written in the 1960s and ’70s when hospitals were expanding and the main fear was duplication of facilities and services. Today, however, the opposite is happening: According to MergerWatch’s data, the number of hospitals that provide short-term acute-care has declined by about 240 over the past 15 years in the United States. Meanwhile, the country’s remaining hospitals are consolidating at a faster rate: 112 hospital deals were announced in 2015, which is a 70 percent increase from 2010, according to a recent analysis by Kaufman, Hall & Associates LLC, a management consulting firm.