Issue Request for Public Input as Part of Inquiry into Impacts of Corporate Ownership Trend in Health Care

Agencies seek information about transactions, including unreportable transactions, that may harm patient health, worker safety, quality of care, and affordability.

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly launched an intergovernmental public investigation into the growing control of private equity and other corporations over health care.

Private equity firms and other corporate owners are increasingly involved in health care system transactions, and sometimes those transactions can lead to profit maximization at the expense of quality care. Intergovernmental investigation seeks to understand how certain health care market transactions can increase consolidation and generate profits for companies, while threatening patient health, worker safety, quality of care and affordable health care for patients and taxpayers.

The agencies issued a Information request (RFI) soliciting public comments on deals made by health systems, private payers, private equity funds, and other alternative asset managers involving providers, facilities, or ancillary healthcare products or services. The RFI also requests information about transactions that would not be reported to the Department of Justice or the FTC for antitrust review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

"Preserving competition in health care markets is a priority for the Department of Justice because of its significant impact on the health and well-being of Americans," said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. “This RFI will allow agencies to accurately understand the realities of the modern healthcare industry market and aggressively enforce the law against illegal agreements. “Listening to patients, workers and market participants will be critical to developing future enforcement and policy efforts related to consolidation in the healthcare sector.”

“When private equity companies buy health care facilities only to cut staff and reduce quality, patients lose out,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. "Through this investigation, the FTC will continue to examine private equity hoards, strip-and-flip tactics, and other financial plays that can enrich executives but leave the American public worse off."

“Increasing competition in healthcare markets gives people more options. Competition helps ensure that patients have access to high-quality, lower-cost care, and that health care workers receive higher wages and work under better conditions. And it saves taxpayers money,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “We need to do more to understand the impact of private equity and corporate deals on our policymaking, regulatory decisions and enforcement actions. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to improving transparency and competition in health care.”

Research has shown that competition in healthcare provider and payer markets promotes higher-quality, lower-cost healthcare, greater access to care, greater innovation, higher wages, and better benefits for healthcare workers. health. Comments submitted in response to the joint RFI will inform agencies' enforcement priorities and future actions, including potential regulations aimed at promoting and protecting competition in health care markets and ensuring adequate access to health care items and services. affordable and quality.

The agencies' RFI is based on that of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Recent RFI in Medicare Advantage and a RFI issued by the FTC and HHS about how pharmaceutical broker groups may be contributing to drug shortages. The RFI issued today arises from December 2023. advertisement which outlines the efforts of the Department of Justice, the FTC, and HHS to reduce health care and drug costs while promoting competition for the benefit of patients and health care workers.

In addition to the launch of the RFI, the three agencies will also participate today in a virtual public workshop which will explore the impact of private capital on healthcare and discuss what the federal government is doing to address any harmful effects.

All market participants, including patients, consumer advocates, physicians, nurses, healthcare providers and administrators, employers, insurers, and more, are invited to share their comments in response to the RFI. The agencies seek comments on a variety of transactions, including those involving dialysis clinics, nursing homes, hospice providers, primary care providers, hospitals, home health agencies, home and community-based service providers, healthcare providers behavioral, as well as billing and collection services.

The public will have 60 days to submit comments at regulations.govno later than May 6. Once submitted, comments will be posted on Regulations.gov.

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