As strategies evolve in response to the Affordable Care Act and the more generic interest in “health reform,” increasing provider consolidation has become a definable trend. Beyond the sustained impetus for hospital mergers, acquisitions, and affiliations, this trend includes a significant uptick in strategies to align physicians with hospitals and health systems, whether accomplished by direct employment, acquisition of existing clinics and practices, or looser affiliation and joint venture models. Historically, most physician alignment activity has flown below the antitrust radar (with the exception of a relative handful of PHO enforcement matters). However, consolidation in physician services markets is now drawing significant attention from both federal and state antitrust regulators.
- Antitrust risks in contractual networks and alliances, and the significance of the FTC’s recent advisory opinion to the Norman (Oklahoma) PHO.
- Antitrust risks in physician practice acquisitions and employment, and strategies for minimizing risks.
- Operational antitrust risks in vertically-integrated health systems.