The landscape of New Jersey’s healthcare is always changing and the most recent change comes in the form of multi-hospital conglomerates. Hospitals are now merging together to create larger and more powerful corporations. While this change may offer solutions to healthcare problems facing the industry, it may also increase malpractice in our state.
Could Hospital Mergers Increase Chances of Malpractice?
According to Kerry McKean Kelly—vice president of communications with the New Jersey Hospital Association—around 80 percent of New Jersey hospitals belong to a multi-hospital group. Most recently, Hackensack University Health Network joined forces with Meridian Health to become Hackensack Meridian. Similiarly, Robert Wood Johnson Health System merged with Barnabas Health to become RWJ Barnabas Health System. These mergers are popular because they offer distinct advantages to the hospitals.
One of the advantages of multi-hospital networks is that resources can be shared between facilities. If a patient needs a specialized CAT scan, a doctor could simply send that patient to one of the network’s sister hospitals for treatment. Another advantage merged hospitals have is they are in a stronger position to negotiate prices with health insurance providers. In addition to that, they can also share resources between hospitals.. This could mean that your local hospital or clinic is less likely to close during tough times. Despite all of these advantages there are a few drawbacks that come with a multi-hospital network.
The major disadvantage to multi-hospital networks is that they tend to streamline the healthcare process. While streamlining can get you in and out of the doctor’s office faster, it could also lead to more mistakes. Every illness is a little different, so standardized care isn’t often the best strategy. That means you may have to be more diligently involved in your healthcare to make sure your doctor doesn’t miss something.
To keep yourself as safe as possible be sure to pay attention to your symptoms. If new symptoms show up, your condition worsens, or your doctor isn’t taking your illness seriously, it is never a bad idea to get a second opinion. You can also talk to an attorney if you think key steps in your medical treatment were skipped for the sake of efficiency.
From the New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys at Keefe Law Firm—looking out for you, when your health has been compromised.