In a fast-paced Kidney Week 2018 session titled “Reshaping Relationships and Transforming Care Delivery,” Janis M. Orlowski, MD, MACP, chief health care officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), captured the dynamic environment of healthcare in the United States when she led the session with “Consolidation: Friend or Foe?”—the Christopher R. Blagg, MD, Lectureship in Renal Disease and Public Policy.
Orlowski captured the situation with a comparison of the 2008 merger of Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, a 160-year-old institution with 428 beds, with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, compared with the recent signed letter of intent to merge Baylor Scott & White Health and Memorial Herman, which had, respectively, 2017 operating revenues of $9.1 billion and $5.06 billion. The combined enterprise will have 68 hospital campuses, more than 1100 care delivery sites, about 14,000 independent and academic physicians, two health plans, and approximately 10 million patient encounters annually.
The year 2018 also saw the completion of the merger between Downers Grove–based Advocate Health Care and Wisconsin’s Aurora Health Care, creating the 10th-largest not-for-profit hospital system in the country. The new combined system, called Advocate Aurora Health, has 27 hospitals, 70,000 employees, and about $11 billion in annual revenue. The merged system will keep dual headquarters in Illinois and Wisconsin. The $69 billion merger of CVS with Aetna should also be considered in this context.