What The Research Says About the Impacts of Hospital Consolidation Across the United States
By: Amy Phillips (Washington Center for Equitable Growth)
When individuals in the United States turn to hospitals for medical care, they often find themselves in vulnerable situations, such as during acute illnesses, major injuries, or childbirth. Hospitals play a significant role as large employers, exerting considerable influence on their local communities and affecting local economies and labor markets beyond their physical boundaries.
Over the past few decades, hospital mergers and consolidations have been increasingly prevalent nationwide. This trend results in more highly concentrated hospital and healthcare markets, leading to diminished competition. The growing concentration of hospital markets, driven by consolidation and other factors, has widespread consequences for patients and healthcare providers. These repercussions encompass the types of care available and the wages earned by healthcare professionals.
In a recent report titled “The consequences of U.S. hospital consolidation on local economies, healthcare providers, and patients,” presented by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, the author delves into the current evidence regarding the causes and effects of hospital consolidation in the United States. The report highlights three crucial examples to illustrate the impacts of hospital consolidation: the effects on rural hospitals and their communities, the implications for nurses’ wages and employment, and the consequences for access to and the quality of maternity care.