When a Boston academic medical center shifted its total hip replacement cases to an affiliated community hospital, the transfer meant more than just busier operating rooms and higher surgical volume for its partner. The shift also meant the community hospital would likely see an uptick in emergency room visits, physical therapy cases and more. Might there be other unintended consequences?
Between 2010 and 2016, the number of U.S. health systems that expanded through new partnerships grew by 55 percent. As the anecdote above illustrates, the effects of expansion can be felt throughout the organization and may not be easy to anticipate. As mergers, acquisitions and new affiliations continue, organizations should consider the safety of clinicians and patients when they make plans that affect the delivery of care. How can hospitals best prepare to keep everyone safe and continue to provide high quality care during major transitions?