Vertical integration is the combination of different members of the health care supply chain, such as when hospitals acquire physician practices or health plans form drug companies. The stated goals with vertical integration are to increase efficiencies and competitive strength and to improve the quality of care.

However, on the current regulation front, stricter oversight of vertical integration is on the horizon, with administrative actions that would inhibit anticompetitive competition and unbundle medical conglomerates.

Compare to: horizontal integration.

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