In the News: September 14–20
Trends Studied for Health Care Market Concentration
A new Health Affairs study analyzed market concentration trends for US hospitals, physician organizations and insurers from 2010–2016. During this time, market concentration among primary care physicians increased the most, with the percentage of primary care physicians working in organizations owned by a hospital or health system increasing from 28% to 44%. The study also found that 90% of metropolitan statistical areas were highly concentrated for hospitals in 2016.
While traditional mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures or clinical affiliations can meet strategic needs, health care markets still continue to evolve. Accordingly, health care partnerships are also evolving, with organizations increasingly engaging in new alliances that involve nontraditional partners, more complex relationships and even shorter-lived commitments. Sg2 believes that organizations should broaden their thinking around consolidation by focusing on the future of strategic partnerships. To learn more, read the Sg2 report: Strategic Partnerships for Tomorrow’s Health Care.
Organization-Level Support Is Key for Expanding NP Role in Primary Care
A recent study in the International Journal of Nursing Studies investigated the role of nurse practitioners (NPs) in care delivery in Massachusetts. Specifically, the researchers looked at whether NPs served as primary care providers with their own patient panels, with about 45% of the survey respondents reporting that they do. Furthermore, the study found that the organization-level work environment can have a substantial impact on the role of NPs in care delivery. A one-unit increase on the Organization-level Independent Practice and Support subscale was tied to a doubling of the incidence of the NPs serving as primary care providers with their own patient panel.
Sg2 believes that unleashing the untapped potential of the growing cadre of advanced practitioners must quickly become a strategic priority for health systems. Read the Sg2 report: Optimizing Use of Advanced Practitioners for strategies to optimize the deployment of advanced practitioners, as well as case examples of successful programs.
Uninsured Rate Increases for Some Groups
The latest Commonwealth Fund Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey found that the 2017 uninsured rate was statistically unchanged from 2016 but had a statistically significant increase among:
- 35-to-49-year-olds, with uninsured rates rising from 11% in 2016 to 15% in 2017
- Adults with higher income (greater than 400% of federal poverty level), with uninsured rates rising from 2% in 2016 to 5% in 2017
- Adults living in states that had not expanded Medicaid, with uninsured rates rising from 16% in 2016 to 19% in 2017
Whether this signals the start of deterioration in insurance coverage or a one-time adjustment will be heavily influenced by national and state legislative activity and administrative action. As the policy landscape continues to evolve, Sg2 is excited to offer an interactive way for members to get their health care policy questions answered. Register now for the upcoming Experts Live: Q&A With Sg2’s Health Care Policy Team on October 5 for an open dialogue as we explore the latest on the health care policy front.