Survey: Large employers doubt hospital mergers drive down costs

Overwhelmingly, large employers doubt hospital and health system consolidation will reduce medical costs or improve quality of care, reports Crain's Chicago Business.

That finding comes from a recent survey by Midwest Business Group on Healthcare. The firm surveyed 85 large employers from across the nation about how they think health benefits will change in a rapidly evolving healthcare market. The study was conducted in June.

Below are six survey findings.

1. Nationwide, only 14 percent of respondents said they believe hospital mergers will reduce the cost of healthcare.

2. About 39 percent of respondents predicted that hospital mergers will cause medical costs to rise.

3. About 61 percent of respondents said hospital consolidation is likely to improve the consistency of healthcare.

4. Sixty-four percent of respondents said hospital consolidation could lead to improved administrative efficiencies.

5. In terms of quality, about 41 percent of respondents said hospital mergers were likely to produce better clinical outcomes for patients.

6. The portion of large employers nationwide who are willing to make direct contracts with hospitals for one or all of their healthcare services is expected to jump from 5 percent to 24 percent in 2017.

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