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Healthcare integration’s unintended consequences — so far

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Andrea Simon discusses the not necessarily intended results of healthcare integration. Among them:

  1. “Consumer behavior is changing. Consumers have more deductibles but higher costs and less choice—yet they are still trying to choose their healthcare.
  2. “Physicians are adapting, sort of. Some physicians are still trying to stay independent but are losing their uniqueness in the eyes of their patients and their colleagues.
  3. “New delivery channels are thriving. New delivery channels, such as urgent care centers, retail clinics and even telemedicine, are creating new options without the ‘medical home’ or coordination that was expected to reduce costs and improve outcomes.
  4. “Independent physicians are struggling. As referrals are shifting to in-system networks, independent physicians are finding their panels shrinking and have limited experience in marketing or growth strategies.
  5. “Some ancillary services are being cut out of the system. Ancillary services—from nursing homes to visiting nurses to back-office support companies—are finding their referral streams truncated. Their value propositions no longer have their former value.
  6. “Lower costs have not resulted. What this means for consumers and insurers is not yet clear. For systems, however, there are immediate financial benefits as they add facility fees onto charges {for things} that used to be done by physicians.”

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