Why We Need To Keep Our Community Hospitals Strong

Chuck Lauer | Becker's Hospital Review | May 29, 2012

Community hospitals are under siege right now. Unlike large medical centers or hospital systems, they do not have the clout to qualify for the highest payor rates or the lowest vendor prices. And these self-standing, non-profit institutions have limited access to financing at a time when we're stuck in economic doldrums.

As a group, these hospitals seem ill-equipped for the vast changes that are sweeping through our industry: the move to expensive healthcare IT, the demands for care-coordination through structures like accountable care organizations and the continuing erosion of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

However, this is not a time to kiss community hospitals good-bye. I don't particularly want to enter a brave new world with just large, impersonal health systems where all of us are just cogs in the wheel. Without these community institutions, there would be a large hole in our healthcare system, and I don't think it could ever be filled...