Hospital acquisitions hurt patient experience, study suggests

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Hospital acquisitions are linked to worse patient experience and do not improve care quality, suggest the findings of a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

For the study, researchers analyzed Medicare claims and Hospital Compare quality data for more than 2,200 hospitals between 2007 and 2016. Of these hospitals, 246 were acquired by another hospital or health system between 2009 and 2013.

Researchers discovered a modest decline in patient experience scores among recently acquired hospitals. They also found no signs that hospital acquisitions led to improved quality scores. Acquired hospitals demonstrated no significant changes in 30-day readmission or mortality rates.

The study findings contradict a common argument many hospital executives use to justify mergers and acquisitions: that they will improve quality performance, reports The Wall Street Journal.

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