The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is taking actions to promote competition and transparency in our nation’s healthcare system that can improve the safety and quality of nursing homes and hospitals.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is releasing data publicly -- for the first time -- on mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and changes of ownership from 2016-2022 for hospitals and nursing homes enrolled in Medicare. This data is a powerful new tool for researchers, state and federal enforcement agencies, and the public to better understand the impacts of consolidation on healthcare prices and quality of care.
HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) is also releasing a related report — an analysis of the new CMS data examining trends in changes of ownership over the past six years.
“For the first time, data is being released on the impact of hospital and nursing home consolidation for people across our nation.” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
“Hospital and nursing facility consolidation leaves many underserved areas with inadequate or more expensive healthcare options,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “This new data gives researchers, state and federal enforcement agencies, and the public new opportunities to examine how mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and changes of ownership impact access to care, care quality, and prices as a way to enable greater transparency and insight into the hospital and nursing home industries.”
CMS’s data on the changes of ownership — which includes details on mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations — is now available on data.cms.gov. The data can help researchers, enforcers, and the public analyze trends and issues in healthcare markets, and more specifically, provide insight into how the ownership of healthcare providers impacts costs and outcomes of consumers. For example, ASPE’s report identifies several findings from the new dataset:
• Changes of ownership have been much more common in nursing homes than hospitals over the past six years.
• There is also wide ownership variation by state. For instance, 19% of hospitals (14 out of 73) in South Carolina were sold during this period, while most states had fewer than 4% of hospitals change ownership.
• A majority (62.3%) of Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) that were purchased have a single organizational owner, 6.9% have multiple organizations owners, while 18.2% have only individual owners and 12.7% have both types of owners.
CMS expects to release updated change of ownership data on a quarterly basis. The CMS data will enhance transparency for hospitals and nursing homes patients, potential patients and their loved ones, as well as for policymakers and the communities where these facilities are located.
This new data release is just one of many steps HHS is taking to increase transparency and accountability, and to boost competition in the healthcare industry.