Healthcare services executives are looking at acquisitions to enable growth over the next 12 months, according to a survey released today by GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services. Seventy-two percent of respondents expect their business performance to improve in the next 12 months. GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services conducted the survey in advance of its 2013 Healthcare Services Conference on September 17 th in Washington, DC. The conference was attended by more than 300 C-suite executives and featured industry leaders, investors and finance experts discussing the challenges and opportunities facing the healthcare services industry today. “Our attendees were eager to come together and discuss the evolving landscape of the healthcare services sector, and understand how other senior leaders view the future of the industry,” said Darren Alcus, president and CEO of GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services. “As the survey points out, the trend of integration and consolidation is continuing across healthcare services. Companies are seeking ways to grow in a challenging environment. Decreased utilization, reimbursement rates under constant pressure and increased regulatory scrutiny have made it difficult to grow organically, so we’re continuing to see companies turn to M&A.” Additional findings from the survey include: Growth Strategy: Eighty-eight percent of respondents anticipate pursuing M&A in the next 12 months. Balance sheet refinancing (43 percent) and recapitalization (36 percent) were also cited as critical to their growth strategies. Hiring Plans: More than half (55 percent) of respondents expect to increase staffing levels over the remainder of this year. Challenges: Thirty-seven percent of respondents cited the U.S. economy and budget pressures as their primary concerns over the next year, followed by Affordable Care Act changes and implementation (30 percent). Editor's Note The GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services survey examined the expectations of a total of 223 senior executives within the healthcare services industry. The survey was conducted online with percentages based on those that responded to each individual question.