Does Michigan Have the Largest Health Network?

As of last week, the answer is “yes.”

Ascension, the largest catholic health system in the country and Trinity, the second largest catholic health system, formed Together Health Network.

The new healthcare network will cover all of Michigan using 27 hospitals, hundreds of clinic sites and 5,000 doctors.

Why the new network among competitors?

Answer:  Money and Financial Risk.

Insurance companies and large employers are looking for ways to keep health costs down.  By forming a new combined healthcare network, both Ascension and Trinity can leverage what they already have: hospitals and lots of doctors.  The bigger the network the more money they can bring in by being the preferred provider.  Additionally, there is less risk with more resources.  The more cities they can cover, the more money they will make.

Patients want large networks with lots of choices.  If “Together Health Network” can avoid the problems of a large bureuacracy and deliver fast, efficient and great care, the investment will be worth it.

This is another effect of ObamaCare.  

ObamaCare incentivizes healthcare providers to work together using technology like electronic health records to avoid unnecessary tests and procedures.  If there is only one payment for the care of the patient, the healthcare providers want to only do what is necessary.  No more, no less.  The old “fee for service” model incentivizes just the opposite.  Under the old model, the more tests the better.

It will be interesting to see how these 2 mega health systems attempt to work together for the good of patients throughout Michigan.  It may be difficult to teach long time rivals that they are now on the same team.

Should be interesting to watch.  Stay Tuned!

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