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Atrium Health is offering to buy a local hospital for $3 billion. Photo: Atrium Health

Hospitals that have pocketed tens of millions of dollars in federal coronavirus bailouts are still pursuing big-ticket mergers and acquisitions.

Why it matters: The pandemic has dried up big parts of hospitals' businesses, and that's why Congress established a $175 billion bailout fund to help them. At the same time, they're spending millions on lawyers and advisers to explore deals that expand their business empires.

Where it stands:

  • Advocate Aurora Health and Beaumont Health are in discussions to merge into a giant hospital system spanning three Midwest states. Beaumont has received more than $550 million so far in coronavirus bailout funds, and Advocate Aurora has received $328 million.
  • Atrium Health, Duke Health and Novant Health are in a multibillion-dollar bidding war to acquire New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C. Atrium has pocketed $149 million, Novant has received more than $80 million and Duke has gotten almost $50 million in bailout funds.
  • ProMedica is offering to take over the operations of the University of Toledo Medical Center. ProMedica has received $158 million in coronavirus bailouts.
  • Lifespan and Care New England in Rhode Island have rekindled merger talks. The two systems have combined for more than $64 million in coronavirus funds.

Between the lines: The New Hanover situation, in particular, shows that the pandemic isn't slowing down market expansion, especially if the prize is big enough.

The bottom line: The effects on competition and patients' wallets will live on after the pandemic ends.

Go deeper: The coronavirus could force more doctors to sell to hospitals — or shutter

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - Health

HHS issues new protections for Texas abortion providers, patients

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

The Biden administration's latest move to bolster support for abortion providers and patients in Texas include funding for clinics, protections for health care workers and reinforcement of legal statutes specific to pregnant people, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced Friday.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has vowed to fight Texas' new abortion law, the U.S.'s most restrictive since 1973, on multiple fronts.

17 mins ago - World

WHO revises air quality guidelines to reduce deaths from pollution

Smoke from California wildfires over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in August 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Wednesday updated air quality guidelines it set roughly 15 years ago, saying that negative health effects from air pollutants can begin at lower levels than it previously thought.

Why it matters: The changes are meant to reduce deaths from pollutants that cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and prematurely kill an estimated 7 million people around the world annually, according to the WHO.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

The road to COP26 gets slightly easier

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The bad diplomatic vibes heading into the critical United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, might be improving slightly.

Catch up fast: Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday pledged to end overseas finance for building new coal-fired power plants and boost support for clean energy in developing nations.