Health mantra: Buy, sell, close

John Taylor: September 23, 20130 Comments

Never fished a day in my life, but know that a chum line – throwing out bait to lure fish – is one way to describe the way healthcare has been roiled by the Affordable Care Act. The frenzy of mergers, acquisitions and closures is intensifying, but certainly has not yet peaked. Here’s some of what’s occurring.

  • The Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation’s top-ranked health systems, is trying to cut $330 million from its 2014 budget, including offering early retirement to 3,000 eligible employees.
  • Corcoran District Hospital hasn’t been a functioning hospital for some months, and is now selling part of the hospital building and its clinics to Adventist Health. It wasn’t that long ago that Adventist took over bankrupt Sierra Kings District Hospital in Reedley. Sure looks like the district-hospital model is heading toward extinction.
  • DaVita, the nation’s second largest provider of kidney dialysis services, bought HealthCare Partners, a multispecialty medical group that will allow DaVita to handle a spectrum of nephrology services in keeping the move toward accountable care organizations (ACO) favored by the Affordable Care Act. (Community Medical Centers is also moving toward implementing an ACO.)
  • United Health Group, an insurer, acquired Monarch HealthCare, an independent physician practice with 2,300 physicians, based in Irvine. United’s rival WellPoint acquired CareMore Health Plan, a Medicare Advantage plan in three states that operates 28 neighborhood care centers.
  • Dameron Hospital in Stockton has affiliated with UC Davis Medical Center.
  • For-profit Tenet Healthcare has purchased Vanguard Health Systems, creating a 77-hospital chain with more than 20,000 beds.
  • Trinity Health merged with Catholic Health East, creating an 82-hospital chain across 21 states with its most remote western outpost being Fresno’s St. Agnes Medical Center. The new system has yet to pick a name but, like the others mentioned, there’ll be a lot of stationery tossed and new letterhead being purchased.

If you really appreciate your local hospital or your family doctor, this might not be a bad time to say “hang on, I’m with you for the duration!”
 

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