Hospital Consolidation in California Linked To Higher Health PricesSan Francisco | Catherine Ho | Sept. 5, 2018
Growing consolidation among hospitals and doctors’ practices in California is linked to higher health insurance premiums and higher prices for specialty and primary care, according to a study by UC Berkeley researchers published Tuesday.
In California, between 2010 and 2016, the percentage of doctors in medical practices owned by hospitals grew from 25 to 40 percent. The shift is associated with a 12 percent increase in Affordable Care Act insurance premiums, a 9 percent price increase for outpatient doctors’ visits in four specialties — cardiology, oncology, orthopedics and radiology — and a 5 percent price increase for primary care office visits, the study in the health policy journal Health Affairs found.
The prices represent what health care providers are charging; the costs are split between consumers and their insurance plans.
There are several reasons a doctors’ practice owned by a hospital or hospital chain can charge higher prices. A hospital can tack on what’s called a facility fee, which pays for overhead costs like building maintenance. And a doctors’ practice acquired by a larger, well-known health system like...
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As California Hospitals Sweep Up Physician Practices, Patients See Higher Bills | California healthline
Thomas LaGrelius, MD