For two decades, consolidation in health care has been a strong industry trend. Championed by hospitals and hospital-organized systems, care is now less independent and more centralized, especially in urban settings. Widespread acquisitions of physician practices and towers of specialty services, diagnostics, and treatment seem to have forever changed the health care landscape. But in the era of COVID-19, that configuration of big health care is proving to be a problem.
Large systems started turning off the spigot of specialty and non-essential services almost immediately once the community spread of COVID-19 became apparent. As these organizations now try to entice patients back into services, big bricks and mortar may present an obstacle. Both consumers and providers have gone through a transformative process in a few months, one that perceives large, populated spaces as a threat.