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Hospitals are Implementing Thier Own Changes

Hospitals Are Implementing Their Own Changes

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON

The nation's hospitals aren't waiting for health reform legislation to pass Congress. They're already implementing dramatic changes on their own, the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche reported Monday.

Based on a survey of 1,200 top hospital executives, the firm says the traditional hospital -- which provided inpatient services ordered by independent doctors -- soon will be virtually extinct. Instead, hospitals are increasingly linking up with doctor groups and providers of other services to provide a broad assortment of services. These include routine office visits, diagnostic procedures of all types, full inpatient treatments and even nursing home care or home care, the report said.

The need to start looking for a specialist or a special institution at every stage of an illness would be eliminated. The hospital's service network would move patients from one step to the next. That is exactly what many of the current reform plans being debated on Capitol Hill want to encourage.

The survey found that 71 percent of the hospitals already are in the process of developing "integrated delivery systems,'' which means that if an insurer contracts with one of the hospitals to provide health care, its integrated system will provide the entire range of services.