The Effects of Multi-Hospital Systems on Hospital Prices

Published in: Journal of Health Economics, v. 26, no. 2, Mar. 2007, p. 400-413

Posted on RAND.org on March 01, 2007

by Glenn Melnick, Emmett B. Keeler

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Health Economics

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

U.S. hospital prices are rising again after years of limited growth. We analyze trends in hospital prices during a period of significant price growth (1999-2003) to assess whether hospitals that are part of multi-hospital systems were able to increase their prices faster than non-system hospitals. We find hospitals that were members of multi-hospital systems were able to increase their prices substantially more than comparable non-systems hospitals (34% for large systems and 17% for small systems). Further, we find that the systems effect is not confined to hospitals that have other system member hospitals in their local markets. One possible explanation is that hospitals belonging to non-local multi-hospital systems have improved their bargaining position vis-a-vis health plans.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.