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Changes in Hospital Ownership in California

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Despite public concern about the effects of hospital mergers, no one has conducted a systematic study of hospital ownership in California. This study tracks ownership changes in the state’s short-term general hospitals from 1986 to 1996, describes the major hospital corporations in California, examines regional patterns of hospital ownership, and discusses the salient differences between nonprofit and for-profit hospitals. After a decade of mergers and consolidations, at least half of California’s hospitals are now affiliated with multi-site hospital corporations, and six organizations operate over one-third of the state’s hospitals. These consolidations may prove to have important policy implications, especially in California’s urban areas, where the concentration of ownership is most pronounced.