Published by ImagingBiz
Written by Todd Sorensen and Elliot Jeter
From a transactions perspective, 2010 was marked by a frenzy of imaging-center acquisitions on the part of hospitals. A number of factors came together to create the perfect storm of a buyer’s market for imaging centers, including uncertainty surrounding health-care reform and the opportunity for cash-strapped hospitals to augment the bottom line quickly and easily. The strongest motivating factor for both groups, though, was a strong differential between hospital reimbursement for outpatient imaging and freestanding-center reimbursement. Irrespective of whether health-care reform progresses according to its current trajectory, undergoes significant changes, or is even repealed, there is an understanding in the marketplace that this reimbursement differential will not persist indefinitely; it is likely either to be greatly decreased or to be eliminated entirely over some period of time. Forward-thinking members of the radiology business community will thus be asking themselves whether the acquisitions frenzy will continue in 2011, and what the marketplace will look like when it has finally concluded. All of the elements for a perfect storm of hospital acquisitions are still in place this year, but how has last year’s frenetic transaction environment affected imaging centers that remain free of hospital ownership? What are hospitals seeing as they survey a newly reshaped landscape for health care (in general) and imaging (in particular)?