The imperative to “parallel process” mergers and integration

Given the somewhat frantic pace at which transactions are happening in healthcare these days, with insurers buying up primary care assets, private equity firms rolling up specialty practices, hospital systems looking to consolidate, and everyone circling around digital players, it’s little surprise that we’ve begun to hear some angst among health system executives about their ability to keep pace.

“Some of these disruptors are focused entirely on M&A strategies,” one CEO told us recently. “My team still has to run a complex health system at the same time. It takes us forever to get deals done.”

The concern is legitimate: for many health systems, M&A has been a one-at-a-time proposition. Evaluating and completing an acquisition takes many months, if not a year or more—and the integration of even a relatively small entity into a larger health system often takes longer. 
There is a growing sentiment that the pace of single, sequential mergers and acquisitions will not allow health systems to keep pace. 

One CFO shared, “We did a large merger a decade ago, and we’re just at the point of feeling like we act as a single system. We’re looking at one or two others, and we can’t delay the next opportunity because we’re still working to integrate the last.

His strategy: systems aiming to build a super-regional organization should “rapidly build the network and integrate it once you have all the pieces”. It’s a strategy, he said, that is serving vertically integrated payers like CVS and UHG well. To keep pace in a consolidating market, health systems must maintain a pipeline of potential partners that fit with their vision. But we’re also wary of “saving” all the integration until the deals are done.

Rather, health systems looking to rapidly expand must be able to “parallel process” multiple acquisitions and integration. With smaller financial reserves compared to payer behemoths, health systems need mergers to generate value more quickly. And moreover, as providers are held to a higher standard by regulators, new partnerships will benefit from demonstrating value to consumers and communities.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.