Risk managers say hospital consolidation affects patient safety


Some 83 percent of risk managers surveyed by Healthcare Risk Management Review believe the current trend for consolidation in US healthcare will affect patient safety.

However, opinion is divided on whether that impact will be positive or negative.

One respondent suggested that a reduction of competition could lead to more openness about safety issues: “Hospitals are reluctant to share their ‘dirty laundry’ and when there is less competition, there is more sharing of data, lessons learned and opportunities to improve patient safety.”

Another respondent said that ultimately consolidation will help improve patient safety as there will be less chance for variation.

However, some notes of caution were sounded: “My experience with hospital consolidation is that the corporate entity tends to look at bottom line productivity numbers rather than quality and patient safety outcomes. Consequently, staffing often gets cut to dangerous levels,” said one.

Another respondent said that in their experience, during mergers and acquisitions, employee's attention is focused on issues other than patient safety – mainly whether or not they will have a job.

Healthcare Risk Management Review, US, Risk Management