Healthcare organizations can be perceived as “tired” based on their delivery models. Because of this reality, healthcare M&A have been on the rise over the past several years. Hospitals are merging, technology and service vendors are consolidating and systems are integrating ambulatory centers, physician practices and oftentimes clinics.
At our Healthcare 2018 panel, pre-eminent health system leaders discussed the surge in healthcare M&A and how they improve delivery of care and lower costs. Moderated by Sarah Jensen, president of Jensen + Partners, panelists provided a background history of their respective companies in addition to their insights on what the rise in M&A activity means for healthcare facilities. They each discussed how they are preparing for the future as technology continues to transform the way healthcare facilities function. Jay Gellert, former president and CEO of HealthNet, “a combination of technology and opportunity” is changing healthcare.
Gellert explained that some of the rationales for M&A, include “demographics, economics, technology and delivery.” Jeff West, senior regional director of Providence St. Joseph Health, pointed out that “healthcare M&A allow for increased market share, keep the market relevant and accelerate transactions.”
Gellert mentioned some of the largest healthcare M&A in history that took place over the past year, including UnitedHealth Group and DaVita Medical Group, Aetna and CVS, Cigna and Express Scripts, Anthem and Florida Medicare Acquisitions, Centene and Community Medical Group and Humana and Kindred Healthcare, to name a few. In an effort to become one stronger, more valuable company, better suited to achieve market success, this trend in healthcare will continue to be on the rise. Gellert also explained several factors companies must consider in the M&A process, such as new entrants versus incumbents, policy, capital/facilities, transition versus disruption, timing and prudent planning.
Panelists called attention to the current state of healthcare in the U.S. and Gellert remonstrated that “the U.S. spends more money on healthcare than any other country and the least on social care,” but still does not meet the needs of the nation. Jared Langus, director of strategic initiatives at Cedars Sinai Health Systems, added that “the gap between what employees are paying for healthcare and the price of their plans in widening.” It’s clear there is an imminent need to restructure our healthcare system, but only time will tell what the future of healthcare will look like in the U.S.
According to West, “maintaining infrastructure, increased regulatory environment and seismic compliance” are just a few of the challenges healthcare facilities will have to overcome in the next few years.
The panelists could all agree that the healthcare industry has plenty of hurdles to overcome, but with the number of big-name health systems headlining the year in M&A and the advancement of technology, the future of healthcare looks bright.
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