Rapid Population Growth Attracts National Firms

Publication Date: January 2001

Publisher: Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Debra A. Draper; Linda R. Brewster; Lawrence D. Brown; Carolyn A. Watts

Research Area: Health

Type: Report

Coverage: Arizona


In September 2000, a team of researchers visited Phoenix, Ariz., to study that community's health system, how it is changing and the effects of those changes on consumers. The Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), as part of the Community Tracking Study, interviewed more than 85 leaders in the health care market. Phoenix is one of 12 communities tracked by HSC every two years through site visits and surveys. Individual community reports are published for each round of site visits. The first two site visits to Phoenix, in 1996 and 1998, provided baseline and initial trend information against which changes are tracked. The Phoenix market encompasses Maricopa and Pinal counties. With the addition of 100,000 people a year, Phoenix continues to grow rapidly, making its health care market attractive to national firms. A series of hospital acquisitions since 1998 has left these firms in control of the majority of the area's hospital capacity. National firms are also dominant in the health plan market, although a new focus on profitability is leading some to eliminate unprofitable lines of business, including Medicare+Choice. A national hospital management company is credited with helping to stabilize the community's major safety-net provider, but concerns remain about the area's capacity to care for the uninsured.