Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is urging the Federal Commerce Fee to scrutinize CVS Well being’s planned acquisition of Medicare-focused major care supplier Oak Avenue Well being.
In a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan and Commissioners Alvaro Bedoya and Rebecca Slaughter, the progressive senator wrote the deal may decrease high quality of care and hike prices.
She additionally pointed to different acquisitions – together with UnitedHealth Group’s buy of house well being supplier LHC Group, Walgreens’ stake in major care firm VillageMD and its take care of CareCentrix, and Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical – as a part of a push towards vertical integration, “creating a couple of massive healthcare conglomerates that management all elements of sufferers’ healthcare journeys.”
CVS additionally owns insurer Aetna and pharmacy profit supervisor CVS Caremark. Final yr, the corporate announced plans to buy house well being platform Signify Well being.
Warren famous the expansion of value-based care preparations has the potential to enhance well being outcomes and minimize prices, however she added plenty of healthcare firms see “a major money-making alternative,” particularly by buying major care or house well being firms that take Medicare Benefit plans.
“Given the potential danger that vertical integration may result in greater healthcare costs and decrease high quality of care, the Federal Commerce Fee (FTC) ought to rigorously scrutinize this deal, and others prefer it, and oppose any healthcare acquisition that may threaten competitors, enhance costs and scale back high quality of care,” Warren wrote within the letter. “The FTC also needs to retrospectively evaluate comparable consummated offers and problem in courtroom any mergers which have diminished competitors in violation of antitrust legal guidelines.”
CVS didn’t reply to a request for remark.
THE LARGER TREND
After weeks of rumors, CVS confirmed it had signed a $10.6 billion deal to buy Oak Avenue in early February. It marked one other transfer into the first care area for a giant retailer, which has additionally seen exercise from firms like Walgreens, Walmart and Amazon.
Specialists have famous the enlargement of retail healthcare may provide sufferers extra entry to care, as main retail pharmacies have places throughout the U.S. However it’s additionally needed for the businesses to build trust with patients as primary care providers and arrange better care coordination workflows.
“I believe that there is a whole lot of positives to retail gamers by way of catering to shopper preferences and offering care in a extra handy method,” Sanjula Jain, senior vice chairman of market technique and chief analysis officer at Trilliant Well being, instructed MobiHealthNews in December. “However for lots of advanced care, acute care – that each American goes to want sooner or later of their life – there’s a little bit extra fragmentation.”
Tracy Chu will provide extra element throughout her HIMSS23 session “Automation Improves Digital Training App Efficiency.” It’s scheduled for Wednesday, April 19 at 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT on the South Constructing, Degree 5, room S505.
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