Monday, February 12, 2024 – KFF Health News

Monday, February 12, 2024 – KFF Health News

Oversight of health deals is increasing as states monitor takeovers

The statistics cover growing state scrutiny of industry deals as more supplier groups seek buyers: Oregon is said to be at the forefront of the regulatory push. Separately, the Federal Trade Commission is reportedly eager to reduce the size of “Big Doctor” by examining the role of private equity in healthcare industry consolidation.

STATS: States are stepping up scrutiny of health deals as more provider groups seek buyers

Oregon is at the forefront of a push for increased scrutiny. It already has some of the nation’s strictest laws regulating the health care market. But state legislatures in Illinois, Minnesota and New York approved similar oversight programs last year, meaning deals in those states will soon begin to receive more scrutiny. Five other states, Vermont, Washington, Pennsylvania, Indiana and New Mexico, are already considering legislation to start or expand their own programs. Experts warn that this doesn’t necessarily mean a deal won’t happen. In Oregon, for example, where Optum sought to acquire the Corvallis Clinic, which has 100 health care providers, this oversight was primarily intended to allow the public to raise concerns and give the state greater insight into the organization’s activities . But experts told STAT it provides states and the public with new, valuable insights into the state of their health care. (Trang, 2/12)

STATS: FTC sends signal to private equity firms on health care mergers

The Federal Trade Commission, led by Lina Khan, is eager to drastically reduce the size of Big Physicians. Last September, the Federal Trade Commission sued private equity firms Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and US Anesthesia Partners, accusing the two companies of conspiring to monopolize anesthesia services. Both Wales-Carson and USAP tried to dismiss the case, but the FTC recently doubled down on its efforts. (Herman, 2/12)

Minnesota Public Radio: University of Minnesota reacquires medical center from Fairview Health Services

The University of Minnesota is developing a plan to reacquire its Twin Cities campus health care facilities from Fairview Health Services. The University of Minnesota Board of Trustees voted Friday in favor of signing a non-binding letter of intent with Fairview to regain ownership of the University of Minnesota teaching hospital by the end of 2027. (2/9)

In other health industry news—

Modern Healthcare: Amazon One Medical closes offices, CFO moves to new role

The corporate office space is the latest expense for Amazon One Medical, which announced layoffs earlier this week. One Medical will close offices in New York City, Minneapolis and St. Petersburg, Florida, at the end of the month, Business Insider reported Thursday, citing One Medical CEO Trent Green. ) leaked internal emails. The primary care provider also downsized its San Francisco office to one floor, the report said. (Hudson, 2/9)

Houston Chronicle: MD Anderson cancer researcher claims scientist gets credit for work

A junior faculty member at MD Anderson Cancer Center has accused a prominent scientist of improperly taking credit for research and making false and defamatory statements that harmed her career, according to a lawsuit filed in Harris County. The lawsuit, filed in August and first reported by STAT News on Thursday, represents an unusual public conflict at one of the world’s leading cancer research centers. (Gill and McDonald, 2/9)

Modern Healthcare: Franciscan, Vivian Health use AI chatbots for recruiting

As health systems begin to use artificial intelligence more widely to perform administrative and patient-facing tasks, chatbot vendors are seeing growing demand for clinician recruiting automation. As clinicians, potential employees often work long and strange hours, which can create challenges for health systems looking to recruit more staff. Chatbots (automated computer programs that simulate conversations) allow hospitals to contact job candidates and answer questions conveniently, streamlining the hiring process and expanding the applicant pool. (Devereux, 2/9)

Statistics: To avoid data mishandling, universities focus on AI, other tools

There was a time when accusations of data mishandling, scientific misconduct or technical errors felt like a crisis for Barrett Rollins, an oncologist and research integrity officer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Now, it’s Tuesday. (Chen and Watson, 2/12)

KFF Health News: GoFundMe has become a health care organization

GoFundMe began as a crowdfunding site designed to underwrite “ideas and dreams,” as GoFundMe co-founders Andrew Ballester and Brad Damphouse once said, “ For the important moments in life.” In its early years, it funded honeymoons, graduation gifts, and church missions to overseas hospitals in need. Now, GoFundMe has become the go-to platform for patients trying to escape their medical bill nightmare. One study found that in 2020, there were about 200,000 healthcare-related events per year in the United States, 25 times the number of such events on websites in 2011. There are currently more than 500 campaigns dedicated to seeking financial help for treatment of people, mainly children, with spinal muscular atrophy, a neurodegenerative genetic disease. Drugmaker Novartis recently approved a gene therapy for young children with the disease, with a single-dose treatment costing about $2.1 million. (Rosenthal, 2/12)

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