Hospital Characteristics Associated With Clinically Integrated Network Participation

Med Care. 2023 Aug 1;61(8):521-527. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001877. Epub 2023 Jun 14.


Background: Increased integration of physician organizations and hospitals into health systems has not necessarily improved clinical integration or patient outcomes. However, federal regulators have issued favorable opinions for clinically integrated networks (CINs) as a way to pursue coordination between hospitals and physicians. Hospital organizational affiliations, including independent practice associations (IPA), physician-hospital organizations (PHOs), and accountable care organizations (ACOs), may support CIN participation. No empirical evidence, however, exists about factors associated with CIN participation.

Methods: Data from the 2019 American Hospital Association survey (n = 4405) were analyzed to quantify hospital CIN participation. Multivariable logistic regression models were estimated to examine whether IPA, PHO, and ACO affiliations were associated with CIN participation, controlling for market factors and hospital characteristics.

Results: In 2019, 34.6% of hospitals participated in a CIN. Larger, not-for-profit, and metropolitan hospitals were more likely to participate in CINs. In adjusted analyses, hospitals participating in CINs were more likely to have an IPA (9.5% points, P < 0.001), a PHO (6.1% points, P < 0.001), and ACO (19.3% points, P < 0.001) compared with hospitals not participating in a CIN.

Conclusions: Over one-third of hospitals participate in a CIN, despite limited evidence about their effectiveness in delivering value. Results suggest that CIN participation may be a response to integrative norms. Future work should attempt to better define CIN participation and strive to disentangle overlapping organizational participation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accountable Care Organizations*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Physicians*
  • United States