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Hospitals expand to attract well-insured patients despite pressures of healthcare reforms

May 07, 2012

Several hospitals are looking for well-insured patients beyond traditional market boundaries, both in prosperous suburbs and in nearby areas with growing, well-insured populations. According to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) hospitals seeking a competitive edge in the marketplace are targeting geographic expansion into new markets which are well-insured.

The study based on HSC’s visits to 12 nationally representative metropolitan communities, depicted that hospitals are expanding despite the pressures of the healthcare reform. Hospital strategies mainly include – building full-service hospitals, establishing freestanding emergency departments and other outpatient services, acquiring physician practices, and operating medical transport systems with several hospitals building near major highways to be accessible.

Hospitals expansions survey findings

  • In all 12 markets surveyed results depicted that hospitals are looking for full-service hospitals or freestanding emergency departments, buying or establishing physician practices and developing a regional presence through emergency medical transport systems
  • Recession rather than diminishing has heightened the drive among hospitals to pursue well-insured patients beyond traditional hospital market boundaries
  • Expansion appears more frequent where large hospital systems were pursuing significant employment of physicians and where service-line strategies, such as cardiac or cancer care, were well entrenched

Impact on Hospitals & Independent physicians

The overall impact of hospitals’ geographic expansions is still to be observed, there are conflicting views within the industry regarding these new hospital competitive strategies, if they will increase costs, improve care or both. Hospitals are of the view that the expansions will increase efficiency, increase access and improve the quality of patient care, while payers and competitors argue such strategies will lead to elevated costs.

Also Independent Physicians in most markets due to health reforms who are faced with financial pressures along with difficulty in hiring younger physicians, who often prefer employment in larger organizations, are actively seeking the stability and security of employment in larger physician-owned or hospital-owned groups. According to the HSC study in fast growing and well insured Greer, SC, there are no more independent primary-care practices left.

Revenue cycle management amidst hospital expansion and reforms

Hospitals backing expansions as necessary countering that even though there are costs increases, their efforts provide increased high-quality care; will need to cater to higher patient influx and increased medical billing. Hence in this scenario along with the growing pressure of health care reforms, services of skilled service providers possessing the requisite credentials can be availed by hospitals and practitioners to maintain favorable revenue cycles management.

Medicalbillersandcoders.com the largest ‘Consortium of Medical Billers and Coders, servicing over 50 specialty US physicians, are constantly updated with the requisites of the industry and healthcare reforms are the right choice for hospitals and practices. Medicalbillersandcoders.com has in-depth knowledge and expertise in the delivering the best quality services to hospitalists. Hospital employment will affect patients, hospitals and doctors – as healthcare will require greater coordination, greater use of clinical data and collaborative provider teams — which MBC is best positioned to deliver.

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Category : Practice Administration