The Oregon legislature has passed a bill that would strengthen health care merger and procurement supervision, with a focus on preserving services for underserved communities.
Oregon regulators had to sign any merger, acquisition or affiliation that would increase patients ’net revenues for a health care organization of $ 1 million or more. U Read Equal Access to Care would apply to healthcare entities that have reported at least $ 25 million in net revenues from patients in the three years preceding the proposal.
The Oregon Health Authority could reject a transaction if the parties involved could not demonstrate that the transaction reduces patient costs, bridges health inequities or increases access to certain services, such as tubal ligation, l abortion or contraceptive advice. If the transaction is closed, the parties involved will show policy makers and an advisory board that they have met the terms one, two and five years after its closure.
“There are some reproductive health deserts in Oregon,” said State Representative Andrea Salinas, a Democrat who sponsored the project, noting that some patients along the Oregon coast will have to drive about two hours to get there. ‘internal only to obtain a pap fruit. “If a transaction reduces these services, we’d like to know.”
If a healthcare entity closes without the merger or affiliation, state authorities will guard the transaction more favorably, Salinas added. But if companies are only looking to profit from the health care system, the legislation is meant to stop it, he said. Gov. Kate Brown is due to sign legislation this week.
“When large healthcare companies buy into their competitors and publish record profits – in the midst of a pandemic – this is a problem,” said Christel Allen, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, in prepared remarks. “We applaud our leaders for addressing this issue head on, creating a process that puts health equity – not profits – at the center of mergers and acquisitions.
The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems has criticized the project, arguing that it will lead to more rural hospitals closing and discouraging hospitals and clinics from forming partnerships “to provide better care for patients and improve the services “.
State and federal regulators have tried to limit mergers and anticompetitive purchases, which are often linked to higher prices, research shows. Some merged entities terminate services due to a change of ownership or financial considerations, which have acid business.
“One reason for the dissolution of some mergers concerns access to reproductive services when the mother (company) is affiliated with a Catholic health system. Clearly, she was a factor in Yakima Valley (and Virginia Mason) and potentially one with Hoag. (and Providence)), ”Bill Kramer, executive director for health policy at the Comprehensive Healthcare Group, told Modern Health in May. “Large systems can also buy community hospitals in financial difficulty and selectively withdraw less profitable services.”
A similar bill it was proposed in California, SB 977, but was installed at the end of last year before reaching the Assembly or Senate. It would have required the Attorney General of the State to sign any health care professional transaction that exceeded $ 1 million, subject to proof by the organization that the agreement would decrease costs or improve access.
On the federal front, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) Is co-author of a invoice which recently passed the House Judiciary Committee, which would enforce antitrust enforcement.
It would add $ 300 million to each of the budgets of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, increase merger filling costs for larger transactions, raise the standard for admissible mergers, shift the weight of testing the merging parties, establishing an independent division to conduct market studies and retrospective mergers, and prohibiting exceptional conduct such as all-or-nothing contracts, among other provisions.
“This is complementary (to Oregon’s bill), especially since they can keep consolidation on a more global scale including interstate transactions,” Salinas said.
Antitrust regulators have also asked health insurers to provide data on claims like theirs study the impact of doctor consolidation, particularly when hospitals acquire doctors. Hospitals and health care systems often acquire smaller groups of physicians in treatments that fall under the radar of regulators.