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Americans concerned about how hospital mergers and acquisitions will impact their care

About a quarter of respondents thought mergers and acquisitions were threats to their health, and many place more trust in smaller practices.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

A new national survey shows that more than 60 percent of adult Americans are concerned about the impact of hospital mergers and acquisitions on their access to affordable care, with 25 percent reporting that this increasing trend is a threat to their health.

Also, the survey found that patients trust smaller enterprises, such as independent physicians, more so than physician-employed hospital systems.

IMPACT

The poll also revealed more than two-thirds of adults want a solution to the growing trend of hospital purchases of independent practices, and the single most desired solution is requiring insurers to compensate all medical practices equally, a concept known as site-neutral payments.

About 36 percent of Americans think Congress should take action by either doing more to incentivize independent physicians and level the playing field with hospitals, or to regulate hospital purchases of independent practices to prevent them from gaining excessive market share.

Sixty-five percent of respondents trust an independent physician to give them the best recommendation over a hospital-employed physician, the survey showed.

WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW

Americans are most likely to associate independent, doctor-owned medical practices with personalized, patient-focused care. They also associate independent medical practices with trustworthiness and high quality.

THE TREND

The substantial uptick in hospital and health system merger and acquisition activity showed signs of a modest slowdown in the third quarter of 2018, following 2017's record-breaking level of transactions, according to an analysis by Kaufman, Hall and Associates.

Despite the drop-off in the volume of deals, total revenue transacted through the third quarter of 2018 was $10.7 billion.

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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