Albers School of Business and Economics



Faculty Mentor

Erin Vernon, PhD

Faculty Editor

Erin Vernon, PhD

Student Editor

Amy Gulley


The hospital industry and market for healthcare have grown increasingly complex over the last decade. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted in 2010, hospital mergers and consolidations were already on the rise but have since increased substantially. While new, improved efficiencies and integration are often crucial for hospitals and clinics to run successfully, making too many unnecessary changes can negatively affect patient care. This study addresses the negative implications of increased market concentration in the hospital industry, discusses how the ACA has driven these incentives, and provides examples of what is occurring in Washington State. Large mergers and continuing consolidation have driven up costs and negatively impacted patient care. There are additional concerns stemming from increased market concentration, including some that could be better understood if more quantitative data was available. In light of these mergers, it is clear that improved costs, quality, and access for patients need to continue to be closely monitored priorities.