WellStar merger signs of things to come?

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Atlanta Medical Center is now WellStar Atlanta Medical Center. WellStar Health System is promising more than a facelift as it takes in 5 hospitals: North Fulton Hospital, West Georgia Medial Center, Spalding Regional Hospital and Atlanta Medical Center South.

With 11 hospitals and more than 200 medical offices, WellStar Health System has become the state's largest healthcare system. 

"By joining forces we can leverage best practices. We can build on innovative care models," says WellStar Health System CEO, Candice Saunders.

Last Fall, Piedmont Hospital joined forces with Newton Medical Center and is still talking deal with Athens Regional  Medical Center. Plus, Gwinnett Medical Center and Northside Hospital are in merger talks

"The concern is they need to be a little bigger to in order to protect their profit margin," says healthcare consultant Chris Press.

Press, a former vice president at Northside Hospital, is taking a close  look at all of this from a patient's point of view.

"When you're trying to find value in something, you want to be better, closer, easier or cheaper, right?" adds Press.

The consultant believes these mergers and partnerships make much of that possible. Especially in outlying areas.

"If you have a bigger footprint for your system, maybe you can put some urgent care centers that couldn't do otherwise," says Press.

As for medical costs, he predicts there won't be a lot change. Some prices going up others going down.

Bottom Line, Press does not see losers in this merger mania.

"This is a neutral to a positive"