Concerns and questions follow Yale New Haven Health System’s proposal to acquire three Conn hospitals.
Yale New Haven Health’s recent plan to acquire three new hospitals has sparked conversations and concerns about the impact of hospital consolidation on politics and economics.
Yale Daily News
Yale New Haven Health System‘s recent plan to acquire three new hospitals from Prospect Medical Holdings has drawn mixed opinions, most of which speak to the impact of institutional consolidation on the public economy and health care while recognizing the hope for improved services.
The acquisition would mean Yale New Haven Health System and Hartford HealthCare would own more than half of all Connecticut hospitals, or 14 hospitals in total. At the center of public concerns are the cost and quality of health care – both of which have encountered changing landscapes throughout the pandemic. In an email to the CT MirrorState’s Attorney William Tong and his aides plan to carefully review the proposal and the agreement with Prospect to ensure that “patient care and … frontline medical workers” will not be disadvantaged by the consolidation.
“It’s a double-edged sword because, in some ways, consolidation helps. Theoretically, one of the best ways to control costs is economy of scale…but there’s not much evidence that it works in terms of price maintenance,” said the CT columnist and political analyst. News Junkie, Terry Cowgill, who published a editorial discuss potential changes and challenges residents will face with a change in ownership of local hospitals.
On the one hand, Cowgill drew attention to how a lack of competition within the healthcare industry could lead to higher prices for declining services, as well as an “aggressive” strengthening of medical practices. individual across the state — ideas he’s “not really comfortable with.” with.”
He explained that one of the reasons for the increase in consolidation in many American hospitals is ironically a “decline in the number of patients” in recent years, even during the pandemic, alluding to the public’s fear of catching COVID-19 in hospitals and the fact that some medical procedures once required hospitalization no longer do.
However, Cowgill also pointed out that these trends of higher prices and lower quality services would not necessarily apply to this situation. Yale New Haven Health System, which is rated four out of five stars by Medicare, is acquiring hospitals that have received poor ratings under Prospect ownership, he said. He explained that since the three new hospitals will revert to nonprofit status under the system, they won’t have to pay certain taxes — taxes that could potentially factor into how much the hospitals charge for their services. .
Yale New Haven Health System Senior Vice President Vin Petrini also emphasized the distinction between nonprofit and for-profit institutions, saying nonprofit status will allow for more local engagement between hospitals. and the communities they serve.
“Many would say that nonprofit status certainly reflects community ownership and operation, reflecting engagement and investments in the local community, among other things,” Petrini said.
Petrini said Connecticut will continue to “provide an extremely competitive environment overall,” citing Yale New Haven’s regional health system competitors Hartford Healthcare, Trinity, Nuvance, and “some extremely strong independent hospitals” like Middlesex, Griffin and Stamford. He spoke of past affiliations and integrations with Lawrence Memorial, Saint Raphael and Milford hospitals, saying consolidation does not necessarily result in “negative cost impact”. According to Petrini, sometimes costs have to be passed on to private insurance patients because government programs like Medicare and Medicaid don’t fully reimburse Yale New Haven Health System for its services, but he also said they are not in a position to negotiate with the government in this regard.
Naomi Rogers, professor of medical history and history at the Yale School of Medicine, echoed the multiple dimensions of what it means to be part of a “network”. As someone who visits Yale Health Service, a health maintenance organization, she explained that although she must receive “special permission” to see anyone outside the network, the Yale Health System Yale New Haven provides “excellent” quality health care.
Rogers noted that it will be interesting to see how individual hospitals influence local communities once they are under the Yale New Haven Health System. She added that it is important to consider the extent of power that local stakeholders might have over decision-making. Rogers wondered what impact local stakeholders would continue to have in hospitals versus the influence Yale-affiliated members will have on the hospital board.
Rogers suggested that in order to establish more trust with its surrounding community, the Yale New Haven health system should continue to be “responsive” in responding to questions from the public and the press about the operation of its hospitals. Such transparency, combined with pressure from “outside groups” can help the system “work a little more fairly” and move away from creating monopolies to the detriment of local residents.
“I would like to see Connecticut State come in a little more as well,” Rogers said. “I think it would be nice for state regulators to monitor this system like they do on many other systems in the state and make sure the mission that Yale New Haven Hospital says it’s going to to do with these hospitals actually comes true. ”
During a health care announcement at Saint Francis Hospital on Feb. 9, Office of Health Strategy executive director Victoria Veltri, whose agency will review the proposal, said the office had received $400,000. to conduct a study on the intersection of politics, hospital consolidation and decision-making.