Top Three Trends in Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

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Learn how MAP activity is reshaping the healthcare landscape with these three key findings.

Mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships (MAP) show no sign of slowing down, and their momentum is expected to increase in the coming years, according to the HealthLeaders Media report Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships: Examining Financial and Operational Impacts. MAP activity is “driven by the move to value-based care and provider needs for greater scale and geographic coverage,” says Jonathan Bees, senior research analyst at HealthLeaders Media.

The report also includes findings from a HealthLeaders Media survey, which polled 190 senior executives on recent and future MAP activity. The majority of respondents (71%) say their organizations plan to increase MAP activity in the next three years, with 68% exploring potential deals and completing deals underway over the next 12–18 months.

Here are three key findings from the latest wave of MAP activity.

1. MAPs lead to positive clinical and financial results

When healthcare organizations commit to a MAP activity, they are equally focused on meeting financial and care delivery objectives. Organizations cite a variety of financial reasons for pursuing MAP planning or activity, including to improve financial stability (63%), to improve operational cost efficiencies (61%), to increase market share in their geographical area (60%), and to improve position for payer negotiations (59%).

The results show that larger organizations are more interested in expanding geographic reach compared to smaller entities, which are more focused on meeting financial goals. Respondents say their top care delivery objectives include improving their position for care delivery efficiencies (65%), improving clinical integration (55%), and improving their position for population health management (54%).

Respondents are generally positive about MAP financial and clinical results. Nearly half (46%) say their net patient revenue increased following a recent MAP activity, while 28% report it remained the same. Only 6% experienced a decrease. Moreover, 73% of respondents expect the cumulative total dollar value of their organization’s MAP activity to increase within the next three years. Clinical markers are up as well, with 35% reporting quality outcomes increased after a MAP activity and 40% saying they remained the same. Patient readmission results were mixed. Forty percent mention they stayed the same, while 18% saw a decrease, and 11% experienced an increase.

2. New partnership deals are emerging

The majority of recent MAP activities don’t fall under a merger or acquisition category, technically. Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents report their most recent MAP activity was a contractual relationship that wasn’t an M&A. “The use of non-M&A partnerships is expected to grow because this type of agreement is typically less expensive than traditional M&A and usually doesn’t require an exchange of assets or a change of local governance,” according to the  report.

In the broader healthcare environment, transformative developments are also taking place, says Brent McDonald, head of Healthcare Strategic Advisory Services, managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The U.S. healthcare landscape is certainly undergoing changes that are beyond the more traditional horizontal (hospital-to-hospital) mergers,” he says, pointing to Amazon’s announcement that it will enter the healthcare space, United/Optum’s acquisition of DaVita Medical Group, and the contemplated merger between CVS and Aetna.

3. Why most deals fall apart

As a MAP comes together, the due diligence period begins, and so does the potential for derailment. Financial liabilities and cultural issues are the leading causes for shutting down a MAP deal. The top three financial reasons MAPs are abandoned before or during due diligence are concerns about assumption of liabilities (21%), costs to support the transaction were too high (19%), and concerns about price (19%).

The operational reasons for backing out of a MAP include incompatible cultures (30%), concerns about governance (24%), and concerns about the operational transition plan (21%). Cultural clashes can occur at every level of the organization. “Oftentimes, you have cultural compatibility at the senior level (those who are consummating the deal), but find that culture throughout the remaining levels of the organization is not as conducive to a merger,” says Pamela Stoyanoff, MBA, CPA, FACHE, executive vice president, chief operating officer at Dallas-based Methodist Health System, and lead advisor for the HealthLeaders Media MAP survey. “That is something you don’t necessarily see until later, after the deal is done.”

Don’t lose sight of your key stakeholders

In this period of heightened MAP activity and an uncertain future, it’s important that healthcare organizations focus on building sustainable consumer-centered care models. It is critical to set strategic goals that strengthen an organization’s relevance with and attractiveness to employers and payers, as well as increase patient convenience and connectivity, says McDonald. “It would be prudent to keep a keen focus on positioning health systems with their key stakeholders in mind and on becoming/continuing as the healthcare delivery network of choice and a ‘must have.’ ”



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