Healthcare Industry Changes In 2018

A new year is here, which is a good time to reflect on healthcare industry changes in 2018 that may have impacts that reach well into the future. These shifting dynamics are likely to affect a broad cross-section of the public, which will call for adjusted recruitment efforts in the healthcare industry to meet the changing needs of both health systems and patients.

We have rounded up four major healthcare industry changes from 2018 and highlighted how they might affect healthcare organizations and executive recruitment needs.

1. The Healthcare Consolidation Between Insurers and Providers

An increase in legislative and regulatory concerns and a steady decline in reimbursements has led to a series of healthcare consolidations over the past several years.

The most prevalent type of consolidation has been between insurers and providers of lower-cost medical care.

A few top 2018 merger announcements and deals include: CVS acquiring Aetna; UnitedHealth Group-Optum’s acquisition of DaVita Medical Group; and Cigna’s acquisition of Express Scripts, which is expected to close by Dec. 31, 2018. Walmart is in negotiations with Humana, but details of any potential merger are yet to be released.

This trend could change the dynamics of healthcare facilities, even if organizations do not undergo consolidation. Health Systems may experience turnover if employees find opportunities within merged systems. Conversely, healthcare executives may see an influx of high-caliber resumes if redundant positions are eliminated after an acquisition.

2. The Opioid Crisis

In March 2018, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that more than 115 people succumb to opioid overdoses daily. The misuse, abuse, and addiction to a variety of opioids — including heroin and prescription pain relievers, as well as synthetic opioids like fentanyl — have resulted in a serious national public health crisis. The economic ramifications of opioid misuse include the increasing costs of healthcare, addiction treatment, lost productivity, and criminal justice entanglements.

Although the costs of healthcare are likely to rise in tandem with the opioid crisis, the demand for care also will continue to grow. Hospitals may see a need for specialized staff to provide appropriate care for overdose victims, and rehabilitation facilities will need experts ready to aid patients in active addiction and remission.

 3. Patient Experience Continues to Rise in Importance

Healthcare organizations are increasingly focusing attention on providing a positive patient experience as systems continue to move from volume-based to value-based payment and care delivery models.

In an effort to encourage healthcare staff to commit to this new focus, experience scores for patients at certain home health agencies, dialysis centers, and acute hospitals are reported and posted publicly on

This trend requires organizations to seek candidates whose caregiving skills are as solid as their clinical skills. Recruiting leaders who have a desire to create positive patient experiences will help keep healthcare systems competitive in the marketplace.

4. The Expansion of Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage coverage has shot up significantly over the past year. By the end of 2018, Medicare Advantage covered nearly 21 million beneficiaries, which is a 5 percent increase over 2017. One reason for this uptick is the packaging of hospital, physician, and pharmaceutical coverage into a single plan with lower premiums.

Healthcare providers need to pay close attention to this growing trend, while also building strong relationships with Medicare Advantage plans. Health systems must take steps to remain well-equipped to handle increased patient volumes.

Have Healthcare Industry Changes in 2018 Impacted Your Organization?

Organizations that anticipate growth in the coming months may need expert executive healthcare guidance. The team at Grant Cooper can assist health systems, academic or community-based medical centers, group practices, nonprofits and more in recruiting top talent to help organizations rise to the challenges of the coming year.