July 4, 2022

Volume XII, Number 185

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American Hospital Association Pushes for Updates to Merger Guidelines

The American Hospital Association (AHA), on behalf of its nearly 5,000 members and clinician partners, recently responded to the federal antitrust agencies’ request for comments to help inform the agencies’ efforts to “modernize” the 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines and the 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines (collectively, “Merger Guidelines”). According to the AHA, rather than needing major revisions, the Merger Guidelines should be “recalibrated . . . to account for significant developments in antitrust law and economics . . . .”

In particular, the AHA believes the Merger Guidelines should account for and incorporate recent scholarship demonstrating that hospital mergers can benefit patients and payers. The AHA cited a recent report by consulting firm Charles River Associates confirming that hospital acquisitions can generate substantial benefits and reduce costs by, among other things, “increasing hospital scale, standardizing clinical practices, reducing hospitals’ cost of capital and allowing hospitals to avoid duplicative capital expenditures.”

In addition, the AHA described what it argues are defects in current economic models that incorrectly predict the effects of hospital mergers on consumers. The AHA pointed out that both the “upward pricing pressure” and the “willingness to pay” models have significant flaws resulting in ineffective and inaccurate merger reviews of hospital transactions.

©2022 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 97
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About this Author

John Steren, Epstein Becker Law Firm, Health Care Litigation Attorney
Member

E. John Steren is a Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences and Litigation & Business Disputes practices, in the Washington, DC, office of Epstein Becker Green. Mr. Steren devotes a significant portion of his practice to helping health care organizations manage the antitrust risks of joint ventures and other business arrangements. He also focuses his practice on other complex commercial and civil litigation matters.

202-861-1825
Patricia M. Wagner, Epstein becker green, health care, life sciences
Member

PATRICIA M. WAGNER is a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences and Litigation practices, in the firm's Washington, DC, office. In 2014, Ms. Wagner was selected to the Washington DC Super Lawyers list in the area of Health Care.

Ms. Wagner's experience includes the following:

Advising clients on a variety of matters related to federal and state antitrust issues 

Representing clients in antitrust matters in front of the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Department of...

202-861-4182
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