Opportunity knocks for acquiring hospitals

Hospitals are acting on opportunity, rather than a precise strategy, when it comes to acquiring physician practices. Nonetheless, projected acquisitions are on the upswing: Fifty-two (52) percent of hospitals plan to acquire physician practices this year compared to 44 percent that made such purchases last year, according to a recently released survey conducted by staffing company Jackson Healthcare.

The nationwide survey was conducted via online and telephone surveys with hospital executives from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2012. A total of 118 participants completed the survey. Slightly more than half of the survey respondents were from hospitals with 26 to 150 beds; another 39 percent represented hospitals with more than 150 beds.

The survey report stated that 70 percent of acquisitions in 2012 began with physicians approaching hospitals to sell their practices. Other reasons driving practice acquisition:

  • To build a competitive advantage (58 percent).
  • Part of a physician-recruitment strategy (57 percent).
  • To maintain a competitive advantage (55 percent).

Accountable care organization formation (30 percent) and improving patient safety (28 percent) ranked lower on the continuum of reasons for practice acquisition.

Family practice, general internal medicine, OB/GYN and "other primary care" led the list of practice types acquired by hospitals.

"This is the first year we have surveyed hospitals' medical practice acquisition behavior and preferences," said Richard L. Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare, in a prepared statement. "In the coming years, we will be able to watch how acquisitions evolve in the era of healthcare reform."

View the full survey report here.

Photo attributed to Francisco Puente via Creative Commons license.