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FTC wants data on merging hospitals

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Five health insurers and two hospital systems have until January to send patient billing data, salary data and other information to the Federal Trade Commission as part of a study looking into hospital merger reviews.

Why it matters: The FTC has been skeptical of so-called "certificates of public advantage" — policies that some states adopt as a workaround to approve hospital mergers while avoiding federal antitrust scrutiny.

  • Obtaining data will give federal officials a better idea whether deals approved via these mechanisms better serve the public, or the merging hospitals.

In the crosshairs: Ballad Health and Cabell Huntington Hospital, two systems that both completed controversial mergers. Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare also have to fork over data.

  • Modern Healthcare published a multi-part series on the controversies surrounding Ballad Health.

Go deeper: A reality check on hospital mergers