FTC to study physician group, facility mergers

The commission has called for information from six health insurance companies to study the effects of physician group and healthcare facility mergers.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking to study the effects of physician group and healthcare facility mergers which occurred from 2015 to 2020.

According to a news release, the commission has issued orders to six health insurance companies seeking patient-level commercial claims data for inpatient, outpatient, and physician services in 15 states during aforementioned period. It will enable the FTC to assess what impact physician consolidation had as well as the impact of healthcare facility consolidation.

The study is part of a. broader initiative announced by the FTC’s Bureau of Economics to revamp its merger retrospective program, the release says.

According to the release, Chairman Joseph J. Simons has said the goal is “to encourage economists both inside and outside the agency to carry out more retrospective studies to test our analytical tools and strengthen our enforcement efforts.”

The Bureau of Economics will maintain the FTC’s confidentiality rules when the findings of the study are published. The results will aid the FTC’s enforcement mission by providing more detailed information on how these mergers affect competition in the healthcare industry, the release says.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, an examination of third quarter 2020 merger and acquisition activity by consulting firm KaufmanHall showed that the pandemic had done little to slow the pace of deals in the healthcare industry.