HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that the healthcare market in the Columbia, S.C. region is largely defined by a fragmented physician market as well as highly competitive health systems. According to the new Columbia Market Overview, the physician segment is characterized by small groups with little interest in consolidation, which has brought challenges to physician contract negotiations as the market is dominated by a small group of insurers.
Physicians in the Columbia market, however, benefit from the highly competitive health system segment. Lexington Medical Center, Palmetto Health and Sisters of Charity Providence Hospitals are the dominant players in the region. As regulatory battles between these organizations continue to slow the development of new services and facilities, physician group affiliations and acquisitions will provide each health system opportunities for growth.
"The rivalry has created an environment in Columbia, S.C., whereby expansion plans often include significant legal services activity because of staunch opposition by the area health systems," said Dave Raiford, market analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "A case in point is the construction of a new $99 million Palmetto hospital in Irmo that will likely be delayed as Lexington and an out-of-market hospital contest Palmetto's plans. In place of physical expansion efforts, look for these local hospitals to turn more attention to developing physician networks to sustain their revenue and referral bases."
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