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Hospital ownership of doctors’ practices is linked to higher prices and spending, US study finds

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g3331 (Published 15 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3331
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

When hospitals that own doctors’ practices gain market share, healthcare prices and spending tend to rise, a new US study has found.1

In the study researchers at Stanford University in California looked at how various forms of contractual relationships between hospitals and doctors—including hospital ownership of practices—affected prices, spending, and admissions.

Such contractual relationships can help to vertically integrate the supply of healthcare services from primary to specialty and surgical care, but whether such arrangements benefit consumers is open to debate.

Vertical integration, for example, can improve quality and efficiency by enhancing communications between doctors, streamlining service provision, and reducing duplication of services, the researchers noted.

But it …

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