In an op-ed piece responding to a USA Today editorial critical of hospital mergers, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack explains how rapid changes in the larger health care field are leading hospitals and health systems to explore new ways to meet patients’ needs. “The decision by CVS to acquire health insurer Aetna is based on the idea of building a care system closer to consumers that is more responsive to their needs,” he writes. “Those same goals are driving some hospitals and health systems to join together. According to a recent economic study from Charles River Associates, hospital mergers can lead to substantial savings and provide needed funds to finance innovations that will enhance quality and convenience. Benefits apply whether the hospitals involved are nearby, across the state or even across the country. A larger system allows hospitals to share infrastructure costs for expensive IT and reduce overlapping overhead costs. It also expands the types of services available to patients and communities, and providers a stable foundation on which to deliver more comprehensive, coordinated and convenient care.”