PwC: Next year could see big healthcare shifts

A new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that next year could be a big one for the healthcare industry, with major structural changes afoot which could change the industry. These include changes to hospital Medicare reimbursement, further IRS pressure on non-profit hospitals, the growth of the retail clinic market and the continued emergence of consumer-directed healthcare, according to researchers with PwC's Health Research Institute.

For one thing, with CMS changing the way it pays hospitals--adding 200 diagnosis codes for severity, while refusing to pay for some medical errors--some hospitals will see less income, PwC researchers noted. The firm is also predicting that the retail clinic sector will continue to expand, that the FDA will boost drug and medical device safety standards, and that the IRS will bear down hard on non-profit hospitals to prove that they're providing adequate community benefits. These changes will be spurred, in part, by the shift in political power triggered by next year's presidential election, PwC predicts.

To get more detail on these predictions:
- read this press release
- visit the Health Research Institute's site