Healthcare Spending Exhibits Surprisingly Low Growth

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , January 9, 2013

Another factor slowing the growth of spending that is likely permanent comes as a result of physicians and physician groups joining hospitals as employees. Giving up their independence also means giving up physician preference purchasing.

"As more physicians are coming on staff at hospitals, they don't have that prerogative, so now the hospital can say we're buying one kind of stent, one kind of scalpel, one kind of pacemaker and [the hospital] can negotiate for a better price. That's one of the factors we identified as slowing growth," says Connolly.

Connolly says other factors are delay of care because it's too expensive and transparency laws that require consumers to see pricing and medical costs.

"It all adds up to flat growth rate at the moment," says Connolly, who also predicts the trend will continue through 2013. And what about next year?

"It's a little less clear what's going to happen in 2014 in part because of the new law is fully implemented," says Connolly. "We know it's going to increase total spending... but we don't know if the growth trend will actually alter."

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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