Connecticut has long been dominated by locally run, independent hospitals or those in small regional networks, but that’s changing. The number of hospitals joining larger networks has grown dramatically in recent years, and experts expect the trend toward consolidation to continue.

Similarly, while all but one of the state’s hospitals are nonprofit, that’s likely to change soon, with four Connecticut hospitals exploring some sort of arrangement with a national for-profit health care chain.

Experts say there are many reasons for hospitals to consider joining larger organizations, including the need for access to capital to pay for electronic medical record systems and upgrade facilities, as well as the need to increase efficiency and adapt to changes under the federal health law that are expected to make finances even tighter.

Changes in the hospital landscape, particularly related to hospitals’ converting to for-profit institutions, are likely to get significant attention during the coming legislative session. A controversial proposal that would have cleared the way for hospitals to become for-profit cleared the legislature in 2013, but Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed it. Expect more legislation and public hearings on similar matters in 2014.

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