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May 1 -- The Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are extending the deadline by 30 days for the public to comment on a tri-agency Request for Information (RFI) examining private-equity and other corporations’ increasing control over health care markets. The new deadline is now June 5, 2024. https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2024/05/ftc-doj-hhs-extend-comment-period-cross-government-inquiry-impact-corporate-greed-health-care

Mar 5 -- The Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, and Federal Trade Commission request for information on Consolidation in Health Care Markets by May 6, 2024.

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Health and Human Services (collectively, the “agencies”) believe that robust competition in health care markets promotes lower health care costs and improved working conditions, while fostering high-quality patient care and driving innovation across the health care system. Given recent trends, we are concerned that some transactions may generate profits for those firms at the expense of patients’ health, workers’ safety, quality of care, and affordable health care for patients and taxpayers. We are issuing this Request for Information to seek public comment regarding the effects of transactions involving health care providers (including providers of home- and community-based services for people with disabilities), facilities, or ancillary products or services, conducted by private equity funds or other alternative asset managers, health systems, or private payers. We are interested in public input regarding the goals or objectives of these transactions, as well as their effects on participants in the health care market including patients, communities, payers, employers, providers, and other health care workers and businesses.  

We are particularly interested in information on transactions in the health care market conducted by private equity funds or other alternative asset managers, health systems, and private payers, especially those transactions that would not be noticed to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, 15 USC 18(a). These transactions could involve dialysis clinics, nursing homes, hospice providers, primary care providers, hospitals, home health agencies, home- and community-based services providers, behavioral health providers, billing and collections services, revenue cycle management services, support for value-based care, data/analytics services, and other types of health care payers, providers, facilities, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs), or ancillary products or services. We are also interested in hearing directly from patients and health care workers about how their experiences in the health care system changed after a facility or other provider where they work or receive treatment or services was acquired or underwent a merger.  

Public comments submitted in response to this Request for Information will inform the agencies’ identification of enforcement priorities and future action, including new regulations, aimed at promoting and protecting competition in health care markets and ensuring appropriate access to quality, affordable health care items and services. This RFI complements the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ recent RFI on Medicare Advantage 2F 3 that seeks public feedback on enhancing Medicare Advantage data capabilities and transparency, including on healthy competition and vertical integration.  

There is a large, well-established body of research showing that competition in health care provider and payer markets promotes higher quality, lower cost health care, greater access to care, increased innovation, higher wages, and better benefits for health care workers. The agencies have a long history of working to promote competition in health care markets, including through enforcement and regulatory actions.

Academic research and agency experience in enforcement actions has shown that patients, health care workers, and others may suffer negative consequences as a result of horizontal and vertical consolidation of a range of different types of providers—including notfor-profit providers. In this RFI, we request information on the effects of transactions involving health care providers, facilities, or ancillary products or services, conducted by entities where there are concerning trends and recent research indicating these categories of transactions may harm health care quality, access, and/or costs. . . .

The agencies are seeking information from stakeholders, including but not limited to patients, consumer advocates, doctors, nurses, health care administrators, employers, private insurers, PBMs, GPOs, nursing homes, hospices, home health agencies, hospitals, and other health care providers, facilities, providers of and entities that provide ancillary health care products or services. The agencies also seek comment from academics and other experts who have studied market consolidation, corporate control in health care, and related issues. Patients and workers are also encouraged to share information on how acquisitions and mergers in the healthcare industry have affected them directly. . . .

RFI: https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USDOJOPA/2024/03/05/file_attachments/2803589/DOJ-FTC-HHS%20HCC%20RFI%20-%2003.04.24%20-%20FINAL.pdf
DOJ press release: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-federal-trade-commission-and-department-health-and-human-services-issue
HHS press release: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2024/03/05/issue-request-for-public-input-as-part-of-inquiry-into-impacts-of-corporate-ownership-trend-in-health-care.html
FTC press release: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2024/03/federal-trade-commission-department-justice-department-health-human-services-launch-cross-government

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