HHS New Data and Report on Hospital and Nursing Home Ownership

Health Care News -- April 20, 2022: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in a press relase today it is taking steps to promote competition and transparency in our nation's health-care system. This can improve nursing home and hospital safety and quality.

For the first time, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is making data on mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and changes in ownership for Medicare-enrolled hospitals and nursing homes available to the public. This data is a powerful new tool for researchers, state and federal enforcement agencies, and the general public to better understand the effects of consolidation on health-care prices and quality.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of HHS is also releasing a related report — an analysis of the new CMS data examining trends in ownership changes over the last six years.

These new data and analysis support President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition, and advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of improving transparency around nursing facility ownership and enhancing nursing home safety and quality, as outlined in President Biden’s State of the Union Action Plan for Protecting Seniors by Improving Safety and Quality of Care in the Nation’s Nursing Homes.  

From Press Release:

“Today, for the first time, we are releasing data on the impact of hospital and nursing home consolidation for people across our nation. By improving the quality of reporting by hospitals and nursing homes on ownership and consolidation, we also advance President Biden’s agenda to promote competition, lower health care costs for American families, and protect patients,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

“Hospital and nursing facility consolidation leaves many underserved areas with inadequate or more expensive health care 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 health care markets, and more specifically, provide insight into how the ownership of health care 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 health care industry.

For more information on the HHS data release, including publicly available data files, please visit: Hospital Change of Ownership: https://data.cms.gov/provider-characteristics/hospitals-and-other-facilities/hospital-change-of-ownership       and Skilled Nursing Facility Change of Ownership: https://data.cms.gov/provider-characteristics/hospitals-and-other-facilities/skilled-nursing-facility-change-of-ownership.

For the ASPE report analyzing the new change in ownership data, please visit: https://aspe.hhs.gov/reports/changes-ownership-hospital-skilled-nursing-facilities

Wnctimes by Marjorie Farrington

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