Hospitals targeting physician practices in acquisitions

More than half of hospitals nationwide (52 percent) say they plan to acquire physician practices in 2013 compared to 44 percent that made such purchases last year, according to a new survey by Jackson Healthcare, the nation’s third-largest health care staffing company.

The nationwide survey of 118 hospital administrators found that opportunity—rather than strategy—was the overwhelming reason hospitals acquire physician practices. Seventy percent of acquisitions in 2012 began with physicians approaching the hospital to sell their practices.

Other reasons driving hospital's acquisition of physician practices are to build or maintain a competitive advantage (58 and 55 percent respectively) and as part of a physician recruitment strategy (57 percent).

The study also found that hospitals acquired specific practices over others, with family practice, general internal medicine, OB/GYN and other primary care leading the list.

“This is the first year we have surveyed hospitals’ medical practice acquisition behavior and preferences," said Richard Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. “In the coming years, we will be able to watch how acquisitions evolve in the era of health care reform.”

Of 118 hospital administrators that completed the nationwide survey, 39 percent represented hospitals of more than 150 beds. Another 52 percent were from hospitals of 26 to 150 beds.

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