Geographic Expansion Is a Continuing Saga

June 1, 2013

// By Deborah Borfitz //

Deborah BorfitzA report from the Center for Studying Health System Change, published in the April edition of Health Affairs, concludes that hospitals are shifting their competitive focus to strategies that will give them a foothold in new geographic areas with well-insured populations. Under debate is how the employed strategies, ranging from establishing freestanding emer­gency departments to operating medical transport sys­tems, will affect access, quality, and costs.

Strategic Health Care Marketing asked three veteran health system consultants to weigh in on the discussion. They contend that the trend is not new and the outcomes are mostly positive. Success can be pinned to just about every expansionist strategy, but so can a few cautionary tales. Fielding questions are Stephen Gelineau, senior vice president with the Camden Group in Boston; Howard Gershon, founding principal of New Heights Group in Santa Fe, NM; and Frank Fox, founding principal of Shoreline, WA-based Health Trends.

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