Rising insurance premiums and shortages of primary care physicians are two trends that have focused state policymakers’ attention on the functioning of their local health care marketplaces. In addition, many state officials have expressed concern over the unprecedented number of hospital mergers during the last decade. More recently, hospital systems have begun purchasing or partnering with various practitioners in an attempt to improve quality and restrain costs through clinical integration. The federal ACA encourages further provider integration into Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Do these trends create efficiencies that lower costs and improve quality, or do they raise costs and create access problems by reducing competition? What options do state policymakers have to control costs and assure access and quality among hospitals and physicians?
This webinar examined what research tells us about the implications of provider concentration and integration, and included presentations from policymakers in two states that have adopted innovative policy approaches.