Salient to Investors:

Under Medicare’s tangled payment system, hospitals get higher reimbursements than individual doctors for cardiology treatment and other specialty services, sometimes as much as 3 times more. The added bargaining power has given large hospital systems added leverage in negotiating reimbursements from insurers.

Paul Ginsburg at the Center for Studying Health System Change said that in the short run, where a physician becomes employed by a hospital raises costs in the short-term.

The American College of Cardiology says the number of heart doctors in private practice in Wisconsin has declined to 11 percent versus 62 percent of cardiologists in 2007, while nationwide the number of heart doctors working for US hospitals has more than tripled and the number in private practice has fallen 23 percent over five years.

Sheryl Skolnick at CRT Capital said nonprofit hospitals and companies will be able to command higher prices than individual doctors from private health insurers when negotiating reimbursement rates as they gain a bigger share of the cardiology market.   Skolnick said it’s become a land grab for physicians groups.

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