Federal antitrust enforcers at the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continue to take an aggressive stance in healthcare. Two recent developments underscore the trend.
Health Law Scan
Legal Insights and Perspectives for the Healthcare Industry
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently voted to withdraw its approval of the Vertical Merger Guidelines (the 2020 VMGs), which, as we covered in the past, the FTC and Department of Justice (DOJ) issued over a year ago on June 30, 2020. The vote on September 15, 2021 to rescind the policy statement broke along party lines, with the three Democratic commissioners—Chair Lina Kahn and Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter—outweighing their two Republican colleagues—Commissioners Noah Joshua Phillips and Christine S. Wilson.
Our healthcare team recently launched a publication series highlighting the global impact of COVID-19 on healthcare transactions. Around the globe, the healthcare industry has faced similar issues from the unprecedented pandemic, prioritizing their operational response to COVID-19. Now, as countries begin to reopen, healthcare entities may refocus on planning for long-term transformation of their business models. In this series, we will explore how the pandemic impacted healthcare transactions in specific regions and what we can expect in a post-pandemic world.
Insight from our antitrust team was recently featured in an article for the American Health Lawyers Association’s Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law.
On December 8, 2020, Judge Gerald Pappert in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied a request from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Pennsylvania attorney general (AG) to preliminarily enjoin a proposed merger between Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network (Einstein). The case was widely watched as the FTC sought to show that the combination of these two urban hospital systems would harm consumers.
The Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute LLC (FCS), a leading oncology provider in Southwest Florida, relating to allegations that FCS conspired to allocate medical and radiation oncology treatments for cancer patients with at least one other Florida oncology provider during a 17-year period.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division issued a Business Review Letter (BRL) on January 15 in response to a proposal by the American Optometric Association (AOA) and AOAExcel GPO, LLC to expand their group purchasing arrangement.
In what has become the new “normal” in Washington, DC, these days, hospitals and their associations filed a lawsuit today against the US Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) challenging the recent Final Rule issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on November 27, 2019, addressing hospital pricing disclosures.
In this LawFlash, our healthcare industry team unpacks the final rule requiring hospitals to make standard charges public and the proposed transparency in coverage rule requiring group health plans and health insurance issuers to disclose negotiated rates with providers and out-of-network estimates for consumers.
The FTC announced on October 21, 2019, that its Commissioners voted 5–0 in support of issuing orders requesting information from five health insurance companies and two health systems to study the effects of Certificate of Public Advantage laws (COPAs) on price, quality, access, and innovation in the healthcare sector.