Findings from HCFO-Funded Work on Health Care Integration Cited in New York Times

Publication Date: 
June 16, 2016

Increasingly health care organizations are trying to solve the complicated problem of coordinating patient care among various providers and organizations. As Austin Frakt, Ph.D., Boston University School of Medicine, discusses in the New York Times Upshot, one approach is to consolidate health care into an integrated delivery system (I.D.S.), which owns one or several hospitals, employs physicians, and may offer its own health insurance plans. However, the evidence suggests that an I.D.S. does not always improve care and reduce costs. Frakt references findings from a HCFO-funded study by J. Michael McWilliams, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, and colleagues that found prices paid for outpatient care by private insurers are higher for organizations that employ more physicians. McWilliams notes that, “Many have presumed that consolidation is a prerequisite for higher value, but the only consistent finding from good research is higher prices.”