Chain reaction: Hospital affiliations could drive up costs

Over the past year, community hospitals in the Lower Hudson Valley have been courted by large, out-of-town health care networks, with many marching down the aisle to cast their future with giant health systems.

But these mergers may not lead to relationships that satisfy everyone.

Hospitals tout the benefits of joining bigger health systems as better coordinated health care and efficiencies of scale resulting in lower costs.

They can bring new services to an area – even areas like Westchester and Rockland already served by plenty of well-equipped and well-staffed medical centers. The consolidations also put hospital systems in a better position to qualify for a chunk of the $8 billion in Medicaid redesign money the state is doling out.