How U.S. Hospitals and Health Systems Can Reverse Their Sliding Financial Performance

Jeff Goldsmith via Harvard Business Review

Since the beginning of 2016, the financial performance of hospitals and health systems in the United States has significantly worsened. This deterioration is striking because it is occurring at the top of an economic cycle with, as yet, no funding cuts from the Republican Congress.

The root cause is twofold: a mismatch between organizations’ strategies and actual market demand, and a lack of operational discipline. To be financially sustainable, hospitals and health systems must revamp their strategies and insist that their investments in new payment models and physician employees generate solid returns.

For the past decade, the consensus strategy among hospital and health-system leaders has been to achieve scale in regional markets via mergers and acquisitions, to make medical staffs employees, and to assume more financial risk in insurance contracts and sponsored health plans. In the past 18 months, the bill for this strategy has come due, posing serious financial challenges for many leading U.S. health systems.

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