Northeast Ohio Hospital Consolidation Continues

Northeast Ohio's largest health systems announced two separate mergers Friday. The Cleveland Clinic announced that it will take full ownership of Akron General Health System in Summit County. And University Hospitals said it will buy Samaritan Regional Health System in Ashland County.

The ttwo regional deals are part of a broader national trend that some pundits are calling hospital merger mania. Last year, there were 95 mergers announced in the U.S. up from 66 in 2010, according to one health care consulting firm.

The reasons are all the same: lower reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid has meant less money paid to hospitals. In addition, fewer patients are staying in the hospitals, as more care is given on an outpatient basis. And, the incredibly high technology infrastructure costs are often crushing.

Hospitals in Northeast Ohio had announced several mergers in 2013, and this latest news makes this decade reminiscent of a wave of acquisitions that occurred during the 1990s.

Both deals are expected to be approved by regulators before the end of the year.

Story by Sarah Jane Tribble


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