Two other service lines I feel are ripe for growth are sleep centers and behavioral/ mental health. Sleep centers can impact many chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, that healthcare organizations are eager to see decline. Behavioral health deals with behaviors such as addiction that often play a role in chronic care problems. Mental health treats disorders of mood. The recession and slow economic recovery have created a pervasive and deep level of stress for both the employed and unemployed.
Market consolidation is the quickest way to grow. The last two years have been marked by an increasing number of mergers and acquisition, and the mantra for 2012 will continue to be, If I can’t beat ’em, I’ll join ’em. Physician practices in particular are struggling to remain financially solvent against the tide of reimbursement reductions. It’s a situation that’s causing many practices to seek a “mega-group” or join with the area hospital or health system. The consolidation trend also holds true for hospitals of all sizes. I suspect that in the next five years, if the prevailing healthcare climate holds, we will see the near-demise of the independent hospital, with the possible exception of the boutique hospital.
Prediction 4: Not-for-profits must be wary. The always vigilant Internal Revenue Service will keep tabs on 501(c)(3) qualifications. If you fail to comply with the new requirements, your not-for-profit status could come under scrutiny. I foresee the IRS not wasting much time before flexing its muscles and threatening to revoke at least one organization’s not-for-profit status.