Federal Trade Commission Blocks Philadelphia Hospital Merger Over Patient Care
The Federal Trade Commission has blocked a merger between healthcare systems Jefferson Health and Einstein Healthcare Network. The merger was blocked due to the quality of patient care, arguing competition between the two healthcare systems increased the quality of patient care. If the merger moved forward as planned without intervention from the FTC, the combined Jefferson and Einstein network would control 70% of inpatient acute care facilities in the Philadelphia area.
Patient Care vs. Profit
Over the last decade, the healthcare system has seen major overhauls, including large-scale mergers and acquisitions across the country. These mergers were conducted with promises of increased quality in patient care, decreases in readmission, and decreased patient mortality rates; however, new research suggests larger profits are actually the reason for the uptick in mergers and acquisitions. A study conducted by Harvard University using Medicare claims and hospital data from 2007 to 2016 found hospitals recently acquired produced worse patient experiences than before the acquisition. Mega-healthcare systems favor mergers and acquisitions in order to control the market. When a healthcare system dominates a market or is the only hospital available, it has more leverage to raise prices, even if patients are not receiving the same quality of care as before. When the quality of patient care declines, for whatever reason, the chances of medical malpractice increase.
The quality of patient care diminishes due to the lack of competitiveness within a market. When a market has multiple healthcare options, natural competition yields advancements in treatment and services offered to patients and upgrading medical facilities to modern standards. The cost of receiving care follows this trend as well, by allowing patients to shop for the best fit for their needs and/or health insurance coverage.
When market competition is suppressed, and one single healthcare system takes over, patients will likely experience a decline in the quality of care received. Hospitals may become strained due to lack of nearby care facilities and thus make more frequent and more severe errors in patient care, such as:
- Failure to diagnose
- Premature discharge of patient
- Inadequate or lack of follow-up care or treatment
- Inadequate or inaccurate treatment of illness or injury
- Misreading lab results
Any of the above medical mistakes made by a healthcare staff member could cost a patient their life or worsen an illness or injury, inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering. If patients are left without options, they must settle for the level of care the only healthcare system available to them provides. This is especially true in rural and low-income areas where patients are already at a disadvantage when it comes to medical options and the ability to pay for medical care.
Philadelphia Hospital Negligence Attorneys
Patients not only deserve but also expect – and are legally entitled to – a certain level of care when receiving medical care at a hospital. A patient should not have to enter a healthcare facility for treatment and experience further illness, injury, or pain due to the negligence of subpar healthcare systems. When major healthcare systems deem profits more important than healing patients, the quality of patient care provided at hospitals declines. Patients and their loved ones are often left to deal with the burdens created by inadequate care, such as excessive medical bills from additional treatment needed to correct a hospital’s wrongs. If you or a loved one was seriously hurt or killed due to the negligence of a hospital, contact us today for a free case consultation.