AHA: Few hospitals involved in mergers

Although hospital mergers have been routinely making the headlines in recent years, a new study by the American Hospital Association concludes most facilities have yet to be involved in such a transaction, reported The Washington Post.

The study found 551 community hospitals were involved in some form of merger between 2007 and 2012--about 10 percent of the nationwide total of community facilities. The average number of hospitals acquired as a result of one of these deals is 1.7, with most deals involving the acquisition of standalone facilities, according to findings from the AHA's Center for Healthcare Economics and Policy.

All but a handful of those mergers involve expansion into other service areas, or areas where at least five or more hospitals already operated.

Those merged hospitals operating in more isolated areas have had an easier time recruiting specialists because patient volumes tended to increase as a result of the deals, according to the Post.

The findings were released during a time when hospital mergers and acquisitions are expected to continue to accelerate. An April survey by global consulting giant KPMG found 60 percent of healthcare executives polled said they plan to make more deals in 2013 than in 2012, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

"Hospitals are responding to the call for better coordinated, high-quality care by moving away from a structurally fragmented care system. They are meeting that expectation by building a continuum of care that involves physicians and other caregivers to improve patient care," AHA CEO Rich Umbdenstock said in a statement. "Hospitals are collaborating with others ultimately to benefit the patients and communities that hospitals serve."

To learn more:
- read the Washington Post article
- read the AHA statement (.pdf)
- check out the AHA study (.pdf)