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Hospital systems are turning to cross-market mergers to satiate their thirst for growth and avoid antitrust heat. But hospitals are also still signing other lower-profile deals, which experts believe inevitably lead to higher insurance premiums and create more medical bill stress for people in those communities.

“Smaller mergers just don’t get the attention they deserve because they affect fewer people,” said Vivian Ho, a health economist at Rice University who studies hospital consolidation.


The latest local hospital transaction came last week from Novant Health, a not-for-profit conglomerate in North Carolina that registered $7.6 billion of revenue in 2022. For $320 million, Novant is buying two hospitals in Iredell County — Lake Norman Regional Medical Center and Davis Regional Medical Center, which are about a 25-minute drive away from each other. It’s also buying all affiliated physician clinics. The for-profit chain Community Health Systems currently owns the facilities.

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