With new facility set to open, PA hospitals battle for patients


A new hospital under construction in the Harrisburg, Pa. area has hospitals and health systems battling for leverage and patients to stay viable in a market where bigger hospitals survive, Penn Live reported.

PinnacleHealth System's new hospital is slated to open in 2014 in Cumberland County, the same county as Carlisle Regional Medical Center, which now draws about 20 percent of the patients and Holy Spirit Hospital, which claims about 35 percent of the patients, with PinnacleHealth drawing 27 percent, according to the article.

In neighboring Perry County, which has no hospitals, 42 percent go to Holy Spirit, 39 percent go to PinnacleHealth and 10 percent go to Carlisle Regional, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, Penn Live reported.

After PinnacleHealth announced its new facility, conveniently located off a major interstate from Perry County and parts of West Cumberland County, Holy Spirit entered into affiliation talks with Geisinger Health System in September. Just two months later, Pinnacle Health announced formal meetings on how to collaborate more closely with Penn State Hershey Medical Center, which already works with Holy Spirit and Carlisle Regional, the article states.

Turf wars between hospitals aren't just a problem in Pennsylvania. In 2012, Saint Alphonsus and Treasure Valley Hospital in Idaho filed a federal antitrust lawsuit, claiming St. Luke's Health System's acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group would create a monopoly that would raise prices, stifle competition and cause layoffs at other healthcare facilities, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

A 2012 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report said consolidation among hospitals leads to a rise in prices--a trend magnified in regions where a single party holds a large market share.

To learn more:
- here's the article

Related Articles:
Weak profits push hospital consolidation
St. Luke's vs. St. Alphonsus: Battle of health systems centers on market share, quality of care
Community support, less red tape keep hospitals independent
Local hospitals struggle with larger out-of-town competition
Hospitals compete for cancer patients 
Hospitals, government raise antitrust merger concerns
State investigations: Hospital-physician consolidation violates antitrust laws?