The rate of physicians going to work directly for hospital systems has doubled in the last 10 years, and a researcher wants to know how this affects the delivery of health care, its quality and cost, especially in rural areas.
Brady Post, Northeastern associate professor, health economist and health services researcher in Bouvé College of Health Sciences, has received a five-year career development award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study the effects of hospital-physician integration, when physicians become part of a hospital system, on quality and equity of care for rural residents.
“American health care has shifted decisively toward integrated provider systems,” Post says. “It merits urgent scrutiny.”
Hospital-physician integration occurs when hospitals buy out private physician practices or when hospitals directly employ more primary care doctors and medical specialists such as cardiologists. The rates of integration, Post says, have nearly doubled in the span of a decade, and it will remain the dominant way for provider reorganization in the foreseeable future.
“Much care is consolidating into mega-delivery systems, with enormous implications for cost, quality and access,” he says.