Specialty-Service Lines: Healthy Competition or Arms Race?
September 22, 2006
This invitation-only meeting, developed for senior-level members of the NHPF audience, was built around a Health Affairs Web Exclusives article called "Specialty-Service Lines: New Salvos in the Medical Arms Race" (vol. 25, no. 5, 2006, pp. w337-w343). Lead author Robert Berenson summarized the article’s key points. His research found that hospitals and doctors who had traditionally marketed their services as a comprehensive package were developing and marketing single-specialty service lines such as cardiology, cancer care, and orthopedics. While collaboration between a hospital and its physicians is a strategy employed in some cases, a strong trend is the migration of specialty services from the community hospital to the specialty hospital or ambulatory service center, where physicians are likely to have an ownership interest. Health plan respondents generally think this new competition is not producing desirable price competition but rather contributing to a medical arms race. Discussion probed the reasons for this trend, its impact on health care quality, and possible policy responses.
Robert Berenson, MD, Senior Fellow, The Urban Institute; Michael Chernew, PhD, Professor, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
Health Affairs Web Exclusives article called "Specialty-Service Lines: New Salvos in the Medical Arms Race" (vol. 25, no. 5, 2006, pp. w337-w343)
See also "Specialty Hospitals: Can General Hospitals Compete?" (Issue Brief 804, July 13, 2005).