HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of healthcare market intelligence, reports that health systems, eager to gain an advantage in the growing suburbs of Virginia and Maryland, are busy constructing new facilities and completing mergers. According to the newly released Washington, D.C. Market Overview report, rapid population growth and increased demand for medical services have health systems battling for market share in these affluent areas.
"Watch for competition to continue among health systems looking to serve rapidly growing counties outside of the District," states Josh Kelley, market analyst for HealthLeaders-InterStudy and author of the report.
The jockeying for market share is most pronounced in Virginia's Loudoun County, where the percent growth in population from April 2000 to July 2006 ranked fourth-highest in the nation. The county added nearly 100,000 residents, many of whom earn above-average wages. Inova Loudoun Hospital is the county's only hospital, and Inova has been battling aggressively to keep it that way. The health system has repeatedly appealed decisions by courts and state regulators to allow Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) to construct its proposed medical center in Ashburn, which is only a few miles from Inova Loudoun.
Prince William Hospital and Inova Health System have announced plans for a merger, which is currently under review by the Federal Trade Commission. Prince William Hospital is constructing a new outpatient center in Haymarket in western Prince William County, and will include urgent-care services, a laboratory, imaging equipment, a surgery center, rehabilitation services, physical therapy and physician office space.
Montgomery County General Hospital in Olney, Maryland, announced in October 2007 that it was merging with MedStar. The 153-bed hospital has been struggling to keep pace with Montgomery County's four other hospitals in terms of size and services offered. Hospital officials believe the merger will help the hospital expand and recruit physicians faster and could also allow for improvements to the hospital's cardiovascular programs.
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