AHA CEO Richard Pollack: Why hospital M&A ultimately benefits patients

American Hospital Association President and CEO Richard Pollack wrote in a Dec. 17 op-ed the merger frenzy across the healthcare industry stems from the desire to create an overarching care system that is "more responsive to [consumers'] needs."

In an op-ed for USA Today, Mr. Pollack writes one of the key factors driving merger and acquisition activity within the industry is to discover innovative ways to enhance quality, reduce costs and provide more convenient access to meet patients' needs on their own terms. He also notes the benefit health systems stand to gain by engaging in M&A activity extend throughoutt each system across state lines.

"Benefits apply whether the hospitals involved are nearby, across the state or even across the country. A larger system allows hospitals to share infrastructure costs for expensive IT and reduce overlapping overhead costs. … [M&A also] expands the types of services available to patients and communities, and provides a stable foundation on which to deliver more comprehensive, coordinated and convenient care," Mr. Pollack writes.

In response to critics who may argue a proposed M&A action would harm a particular community, Mr. Pollack points to the notion each proposed deal is heavily vetted by the Federal Trade Commission, "one of the most aggressive consumer protection agencies in the country." The FTC's sole job is to ensure every proposed transaction will benefit the community, he writes.

"In some communities, mergers might be the only practical way to preserve services and enhance quality," according to Mr. Pollack. "In every case, the changes in the hospital field are in the service of providing a strong foundation upon which to build the healthcare system of the future and to continue to provide communities with the care they need in the consumer-friendly ways they expect."

To read Mr. Pollack's full op-ed, click here.

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