Home > Healthcare Business, Hospitals, Physician Practices, Regulation > HFMA Research Report — Value-Focused Acquisition & Affiliation Strategies

HFMA Research Report — Value-Focused Acquisition & Affiliation Strategies

A few weeks ago, the Healthcare Financial Management Association (“HFMA”) published a report examining healthcare acquisition and affiliation activity.  The report is titled “Acquisition and Affiliation Strategies” and is available as a free download.

There are no surprises in the Report’s so-called “research highlights.”  In fact, the highlights are ho-hum obvious:

An emphasis on value-focused strategies. The healthcare organizations interviewed for this report understand that the best way to gain market share is by meeting care purchasers’ demand for high quality, convenient access, and competitive prices. They are seeking acquisition and affiliation partners that will help them achieve these goals.

An understanding that different needs require different approaches. Organizational needs vary greatly depending on local market conditions and the organization’s mission, existing capabilities, and future goals. Organizations are considering a range of partners and partnership opportunities to meet these needs, often pursuing several options simultaneously.

The emergence of new organizational combinations. Healthcare organizations are growing both horizontally (e.g., hospital to hospital) and vertically (e.g., healthcare system to health plan), and different types of organizations are combining forces (e.g., academic medical centers and regional health systems).

A blurring of the lines between competition and collaboration. Market conditions and organizational needs are opening up collaborative possibilities for organizations that may have viewed one another as competitors.

The need to change governance and support structures as organizations change. As organizations grow and gain new capabilities, they are reevaluating and reshaping existing board and management structures, IT systems, financial systems and fund-flow models, and physician relationships to accommodate the changes.

However, the conclusion reached by the Report is very telling:

Few doubt that the forces transforming health care today will lead to further consolidation within the industry.  The difference is significant, however, between consolidation that seeks only to increase market power and an acquisition and affiliation strategy that seeks partners who can help produce the cost-efficiencies, gains in clinical quality, and access that care purchasers both need and demand. By taking the latter approach, healthcare organizations will be best-positioned to compete in their markets and win market share by offering patients, employers, and other purchasers a superior value proposition. [emphasis added]

The acquisition/affiliation focus of healthcare organizations has shifted away from market share and toward quality and cost-effective care.  That is an important shift.  Healthcare organizations that may have  looked like good targets in the past may no longer be desirable.  If an acquisition or affiliation is the goal, all parties need to make sure that their own healthcare houses are in order.  Otherwise, they may be standing at the altar alone.

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