Columbia/HCA Healthcare Services Companies
Columbia/HCA is one of the largest healthcare services companies in the United States. Founded in 1987, the company sought to provide one-stop shopping for managed care providers. In 1996, Columbia/HCA managed 314 hospitals, approximately 7 percent of hospitals in the United States. The company also conducts operations in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Switzerland, and recorded more than 40 million patient visits in 1996.
Environmental factors affecting the healthcare industry
Access to healthcare is not a legal right in the United States as it is in Europe, Canada and most other industrialized nations. In the rest of the world, access to healthcare is a right for all citizens paid for either by social insurance funds with member and employer contributions or from tax funding. The cost of health insurance and medical care has ballooned; therefore, increasing numbers of individuals have been forced to forego medical care because they could not afford health insurance, or the expense of uninsured medical care. In 1992, there was an estimated 36 million U.S. residents without health care insurance.
The predominant demographic issue affecting the healthcare industry in 1997 was the aging of the population. However, culturally, increased emphasis is being placed on healthy lifestyle choices, including both healthy eating and exercising. Politically, President Clinton’s health care reform proposal is an issue of growing concern. The proposal was criticized as being too sweeping and complex in nature, resulting in its failure. The health sector’s share of the U.S. economy has reached approximately 14 percent of the gross domestic product in 1992, and it is predicted to reach 19 percent by the year 2000.
Dominant industry traits
The healthcare industry is regulated heavily by the states, the federal government, and municipalities. There are fragmented groups within the health care industry, each of which serve a different need concerning health care. The various groups are most commonly referred to as hospitals, outpatient services, home health care services, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.
Eighty-five percent of the hospitals in the United States are nonprofit entities; the remaining 15 percent are for-profit. Nonprofit hospitals are generally community owned, whereas investors own for-profit hospitals. When patients receive home health care, special services are provided, such as respiratory therapy and the delivery of drugs to the patient’s home. The number of home care agencies increased from 13,296 to 15,037 during the period 1994 to 1995. The primary customer base of home health services is individuals aged 65 and older. Services such as 24-hour assistance, food preparation, and transportation, are provided through assisted living. Assisted living facilities are among the most rapidly growing segments of the health care industry, and consumer...