Financial integration between physicians and hospitals may help health care provider organizations meet the challenges of new payment models but also may enhance the bargaining power of provider organizations, leading to higher prices and spending in commercial health care markets.
To assess the association between recent increases in physician-hospital integration and changes in spending and prices for outpatient and inpatient services.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Using regression analysis, we estimated the relationship between changes in physician-hospital integration from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2012, in 240 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and concurrent changes in spending. Adjustments were made for patient, plan, and market characteristics, including physician, hospital, and insurer market concentration. The study population included a cohort of 7 391 335 nonelderly enrollees in preferred-provider organizations or point-of-service plans included in the Truven Health MarketScan Commercial Database during the study period. Data were analyzed from December 1, 2013, through July 13, 2015.