Like other players in the healthcare industry, physician groups are facing increased antitrust scrutiny from the Biden administration, with the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (the “DOJ”) (together the “Agencies”) continuing to expand their enforcement focus to include all types of transactions involving physician groups, including both traditional combinations, as well as so-called vertical combinations with health systems, payors, and private equity investors.
Many states’ attorneys general have also become more active investigators of physician transactions, as California, New York, Texas, and others have scrutinized numerous physician combinations, while the State of Washington recently passed legislation that requires a 60 day notice of provider transactions that involve at least seven providers.
Based on our experience in the marketplace, we expect physician groups to encounter more antitrust scrutiny of their transactions and collaborations as the provider sector seeks to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and physicians look to innovative combinations and collaborations to find solid economic footing. Physician groups should keep in mind the following three key takeaways as they navigate an increasingly challenging antitrust enforcement landscape.
Takeaway 1: Physician Consolidation Remains Enforcement Priority
Takeaway 2: Physician Collaborations Raising More Concerns
Takeaway 3: Physician Groups can and Should Assess and Minimize Antitrust Risk