KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Feds Pursue Anti-Trust Action Against Georgia Hospital Chain

Hospital news from around the country includes: concern in Mass. about the bottom line, mergers in Georgia and more about Dallas' troubled Parkland facility. 

Boston Globe: Tax Deal Reduces Funds For Hospitals
The recent payroll tax cut package passed by Congress — heralded as a bipartisan nod to working families — has Massachusetts hospitals reeling over a little-noted section that will cost them tens of millions of dollars. Tucked into the legislation are cuts to the rates paid to hospitals to care for the elderly and poor (Jan, 2/28).

Related, earlier KHN story: Tentative ‘Doc Fix’ Deal Would Cut Health Law’s Prevention Fund by $5B (Carey, 2/15) 

Modern Healthcare: Feds To Appeal Phoebe Putney Ruling
In another sign of government interest in health care market power, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. plans to appeal to the Supreme Court a decision that allowed a $198 million hospital purchase that greatly consolidated hospital acute-care services in southwest Georgia. ... The FTC says the transaction gives Phoebe Putney control over 100 percent of the acute-care hospital beds in Dougherty County, and 86 percent control in the surrounding six-county market, which would "tend to create a monopoly," Verrilli's application for an extension says (Carlson, 2/27).

Georgia Health News: Feds Try Again To Block Albany Hospital Merger
The FTC, in an October hearing in Atlanta, argued before a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that while the hospital authority was technically making the acquisition, Phoebe Putney Health System would be running the hospital once it was purchased from HCA. But the appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that the deal was protected under the state-action doctrine – that the hospital authority is a government entity and thus immune from antitrust law (Miller, 2/27).

The Dallas Morning News: Parkland CEO: Transparency To The Public Will Not Help Correct Problems
[Parkland Memorial Hospital interim CEO Dr. Thomas Royer] said "internal transparency'' is what's necessary: "being totally honest with ourselves — that we, working together in partnership with the Board, will create the highest possible quality and safety environment for our patients'' (Moffeit, 2/27).

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