By Tamara Rosin for Becker’s Hospital Review
Preventing the rate of hospital closures from rising will require hospitals to focus on improving efficiency and continuing to seek opportunities to consolidate, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, told Fox Business Network.
“Hospital occupancy across the United States is about 65 percent,” said Dr. Cosgrove. “For example, in Ohio, we have 202 hospitals across the state. One of the concerns right now is with decreasing payments that hospitals are getting for their services they provide, we are seeing almost a quarter of the hospitals now running in the red. So ultimately, if we do not see consolidation and increase efficiency, we are going to see hospital closures across the country.”
Consolidation would lend hospitals more purchasing power and reduce the duplication of services without raising costs, he said. Dr. Cosgrove added he anticipates consolidation will continue across other facets of the healthcare industry, such as the insurance and pharmaceutical sectors.
“This is what the response is to the demands to have more efficiency in our healthcare delivery system,” he said, according to the report. “There’s no question that if the insurance industry consolidates, we are going to have to consolidate as providers who negotiate with them.”
On the heels of the election of Republican Donald Trump as president, who has pledged to repeal and replace the ACA, Dr. Cosgrove emphasized the importance of protecting the insurance coverage for the 20 million people who obtained insurance from the exchanges.
“We have to continue to keep those people covered otherwise the promise for hospitals of more patients, even though we are being paid less, is going to cause more and more hospitals to have major economic problems. We need to continue to cover those individuals, the question is how we do it, and we do it most efficiently,” he said, according to Fox.