Justice Department Offers Expedited Antitrust Review For ACOs

Bloomberg: "Sharis Pozen, chief of staff of the [Justice] Department's antitrust division, told a House judiciary subcommittee" that "[t]he department intends to offer whatever guidance and clarity may be needed to ensure that providers pursue beneficial integrated ACOs without running afoul of the antitrust laws." Doctors, hospitals and others in the health care industry have been "pressing for quicker reviews" for ACOs, which "could save Medicare at least $4.9 billion through 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission must determine whether the proposed alliances of doctors and hospitals, designed to cut costs, will stifle competition or promote price-fixing" (Bliss and Wayne, 12/1).

The Wall Street Journal: "Pozen and Richard Feinstein, the competition chief at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, also told lawmakers they were working with other federal agencies to develop workable rules and guidance for ACOs. Melinda Hatton, general counsel for the American Hospital Association, said the Justice Department's commitment to a quick antitrust review process 'would be enormously helpful to the field'" (Kendall, 12/1).

The Hill: "The hearing was held as uncertainty grows about how accountable care organizations (ACOs) might run afoul of antitrust and anti-kickback laws" (Millman, 12/1).

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