Crain’s Health Pulse
March 14, 2014
North Shore-LIJ Eyes Geographic Expansion
North Shore-LIJ is in talks with other institutions about deals that would expand the system's catchment area, President Michael Dowling said yesterday at the annual gathering of the New York area Healthcare Financial Management Association. The result could be a merger or takeover of an institution in Westchester County, Brooklyn or New Jersey, said Mr. Dowling. The negotiations were only in the “dating” stage, he said, and a deal could take a variety of formats.
The New York area's four hospital systems “will get bigger. We will be joining with other organizations way out of our catchment,” predicted Mr. Dowling, speaking to an audience of health care financial executives.
Mr. Dowling presented a view of the future in his keynote speech, touching on transparency, private equity and future demand for hospitals.
The role of hospitals in 10 years will be much smaller, with 60% to 70% of care being delivered outside a hospital. “Look around our region, and we are hospital-based. That cannot be the future,” said Mr. Dowling, adding that 30% “of the people in our hospitals today should not be there. We all know that.”
But politicians and Albany do not share that view, he said, a reference to his system's effort to downsize some of its community hospitals. “They are wrong, and we are right,” said Mr. Dowling.
He said North Shore-LIJ is trying to move to price transparency in five years. “We should be driving transparency. How do you explain charges?” he said, prompting laughter from the financial executives. “I sit with donors, and they say, 'I will give you $20 million if you can explain this bill,' and I say, ‘Crap, this meeting is over.’ ”
And speaking of money, Mr. Dowling said hospitals should be “entrepreneurial” about how they got capital. “We must break down our view of those who have the capital—venture funds, private equity—they are not inherently bad. You just have to figure out how to work with them.”