As a Midwest state's hospitals continue to merge, some experts worry about higher prices, quality of care


Hospital mergers: Health care costs rise, patients suffer, studies say

  • Hospital consolidations continue in Ohio, where seven medical systems run more than 40% of hospitals in the state.
  • The state offers a glimpse into the national trend of health care mergers and acquisitions.
  • Experts and numerous studies suggest consolidation may yield higher prices and no substantial improvement in care. Health industry leaders argue it means better-coordinated care and easy access to specialists.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – If you need to go to the hospital in Ohio these days, your choices are dominated by a handful of multibillion-dollar medical systems.

The state’s seven largest medical systems run a combined 58 community hospitals – more than 40% of the total – American Hospital Association statistics for 2019 show. Add in a variety of other medical facilities and doctors offices, and these seven systems occupy nearly 1,100 locations across the state, according to an analysis by The Columbus Dispatch, part of the USA TODAY Network.

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