Health Care Partnerships: Keeping Care Affordable

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“We saw the creation of a new system as an opportunity to realize our fundamental belief that everyone has the right to be healthy…The ability to scale our strengths — evidence-based practices, clinical expertise, technological resources — across the health system footprint means that we can bring much-needed quality health care to people who might not otherwise have access to this level of service.”

– Charlie Francis, senior executive vice president, chief strategy and transformation officer, CommonSpirit

According to a 2021 report by national health care consulting firm Kaufman Hall, hospitals that join into integrated systems are able to significantly reduce administrative and overhead costs by centralizing support functions such as finance, IT, and human resources. Capital expenditures for construction projects or purchases of large equipment or new technologies can often be reduced by spreading the costs across multiple facilities.

Integrated health care systems also are often able to both improve quality and reduce the overall cost of care by sharing evidence-based care protocols, clinical expertise, and technological resources such as electronic health record systems that are shared across hospitals, doctors’ offices, urgent care centers, clinics, and post-acute care settings.

A report by the California HealthCare Foundation found that per capita health care spending in California ($7,549) is more than 6% below the national average of $8,045. In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Health Care Economics, an analysis of hospital integration transactions between 2000 and 2010 found “evidence of economically and statistically significant cost reductions at acquired hospitals,” with average cost savings of between 4% and 7% in the years following the transaction.