Is the behavior of non-profit hospital management out of control?
Yes, says digital health entrepreneur David Chase in a column for Forbes. He argues that the management of many not-for-profit hospitals engage in anti-competitive behavior “that would make John D. Rockefeller blush with their brutal actions” and that is damaging the American middle class.
Chase blames the management of not-for-profit hospitals and systems for using their market power to coerce doctors to join their accountable care organizations or medical groups, and locking in physician practices they purchase with geographic non-compete clauses. As a result, the ever-rising costs of healthcare are taking money out of the pockets of middle-class Americans that could be spent elsewhere.
Such abuse of monopoly power in healthcare is not new; some might even refer to it as a distinctly American dystopoly.
Moreover, Chase notes that some systems misdirect the funds they have acquired. For example, he writes that Partners HealthCare System is spending $1.7 billion on a new electronic medical records system. This seems reflective of the common complaint among many medical practices that investments in new EMR systems are not panning out, with increased costs still being incurred years after implementation. He suggested instead that Partners spend only $700 million, and use the other $1 billion to create a new venture fund and draw in other investors to reform payment models and foster new innovations in healthcare delivery.