HHS releases data on hospital changes in ownership 2016 to 2022

Nationally, 4.6% of hospitals sold in last six years; South Carolina leads at 19%.

New data on hospital ownership changes will promote competition, transparency and quality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

For the first time, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released data on mergers, acquisitions, and changes in ownership from 2016 to 2022 for hospitals and nursing homes enrolled in Medicare.

HHS announced the data as “powerful new tool for researchers, state and federal enforcement agencies, and the public to better understand the impacts of consolidation on health care prices and quality of care.”

“Hospital and nursing facility consolidation leaves many underserved areas with inadequate or more expensive health care options,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a press release. “This new data gives researchers, state and federal enforcement agencies, and the public new opportunities to examine how mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and changes of ownership impact access to care, care quality, and prices as a way to enable greater transparency and insight into the hospital and nursing home industries.”

HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation published a related analysis of the CMS data examining trends in changes of ownership over the past six years.

The report found changes of ownership were “much more common” for nursing homes than hospitals the last six years.

For hospitals, there was “wide ownership variation by state,” the APSE report said.

Nationally, 4.6% of hospitals were sold over the full study period.

South Carolina had the highest rate, with 19% of hospitals, or 14 of 73, selling from 2016 to 2022.

Kentucky, New Jersey and Connecticut also had hospital ownership change rates of 10% or greater, while most states had fewer than 4% of hospitals change ownership.

Among sold hospitals, 85.5% have a single direct organizational owner.

CMS expects to release updated change of ownership data on a quarterly basis.

These new data and analyses support President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition, according to HHS. The figures advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of improving transparency around nursing facility ownership and enhancing nursing home safety and quality, as outlined in President Biden’s State of the Union Action Plan for Protecting Seniors by Improving Safety and Quality of Care in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.

“By improving the quality of reporting by hospitals and nursing homes on ownership and consolidation, we also advance President Biden’s agenda to promote competition, lower health care costs for American families, and protect patients,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release.