Wilford K. Gibson
LAS VEGAS — With health care mergers and acquisitions on the rise, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is focused on advocating for patient choice and competition within health care, according to orthopedic surgeons here.
Wilford K. Gibson , MD, noted the AAOS has been encouraged by the Hospital Competition Act of 2019, which aims to reduce the incentives for hospital mergers, in its efforts to increase competition and patient access to health care.
“We want to increase quality, decrease cost and improve access,” Gibson, who is chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy and partner and secretary/treasurer of the Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists, said at a roundtable event at the AAOS Annual Meeting.
He noted AAOS is striving to lift some restrictions on physician-owned hospitals and expand site neutral payments. AAOS is also an advocate of cost transparency, which is included in the Hospital Competition Act of 2019, according to Gibson.
“[The bill] requires hospitals to report their 100 most common procedures and what the cost is,” Gibson said.
The Hospital Competition Act of 2019 will also provide grants to states that take specific actions to improve hospital competition, including those who do not have Any Willing Provider or Certificate of Need laws, according to an AAOS press release.
“As we ... try to work with CMS to create things like Bundled Payment Care Initiatives and Bundled Payment Care Improvement programs ... we are held up by some of the anti-competitive nature of these laws,” Gibson said. “Even if we get some federal relief, there is a hesitation and a real fear of overstepping what we can do as far as allowing our physician groups to try to build bundles where we refer within the network of our practice.”
Despite the efforts put forth by the AAOS, Gibson expects hospital consolidation to continue to increase. However, Gibson hopes bills like the Hospital Competition Act of 2019 help slow the progress.
“I think the mergers will continue if we do not have something in place to slow them down or stop them,” Gibson said. – by Casey Tingle
Gibson WK. Hospital consolidation: Impact on choice and competition. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting; March 12-15, 2019; Las Vegas.
Disclosure: Gibson reports he is a board or committee member of the AAOS.
Editor’s Note: On March 22, we corrected the story to add clarity about the grants provided by the Hospital Competition Act of 2019. The Editors regret this error.