Rural Hospitals Band Together for Insurance-Buying Power

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , January 11, 2012

"As more and more of our hospitals participate in the insurance program, obviously the more we are able to leverage their buying power and create opportunities for them in the insurance market," Pearson says. "Ideally we want strong participation because it helps them," not only by providing insurance coverage, but also by helping offset membership dues and increasing the availability and types of services that TORCH provides.

Awareness efforts include providing information about the program electronically and through direct mailings. TORCH is also offering assessment tools, including a three-year risk planner and a Renewal Readiness Self-Assessment.

Of Texas's roughly 550 hospitals, about 180 of them are rural; Pearson points out that Texas's rural hospital market is larger than the total hospital market in other states, which makes the impact of buying as a group even more pronounced.

"Being the second largest state we certainly have a market that is worth paying attention to," he says.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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