Examining health care competition: time for the next check-up

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Take a deep breath and hold it. Release. Now open your mouth and say, “aaahhh.”

Just as it is prudent to have your health examined regularly by professionals, we believe it is wise to periodically examine the competitive dynamics in the ever-evolving health care marketplace, a critical sector of the American economy.

That is why the FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) will co-host a second public workshop on Feb. 24-25, 2015, as part of the workshop series, Examining Health Care Competition. As detailed in our Federal Register Notice, the February workshop will take a closer look at some of the tools providers and payers are using to achieve the “triple aim” of health care reform: reduce costs, improve quality, and increase patient satisfaction. Our workshop will focus, in particular, on the potential implications for competition and consumer protection.

In response to market trends – including increased pressure to simultaneously reduce costs and improve quality – there have been dramatic changes in the delivery of, and reimbursement for, health care services. Among other things, this second workshop will explore some of the strategies that providers use to improve the coordination of services to patients. The workshop also will highlight some of the incentives payers offer to providers to induce more efficient, outcomes-based medicine and curtail the overutilization of services and products.

The Federal Register Notice announcing the workshop identifies the five main themes around which the FTC and DOJ plan to organize the event:

  • early observations of accountable care organizations (ACOs);
  • alternatives to traditional fee-for-service payment models;
  • trends in provider consolidation;
  • provider network and benefit designs; and
  • early observations of health insurance exchanges.

The workshop will be open to the public and webcast live on the FTC’s event web page. Additionally, interested parties may submit comments online – addressing the above topics and related health care competition and consumer protection issues – through April 30, 2015. To be considered for the workshop, however, comments must be filed by Feb. 16, 2015.

The FTC’s Office of Policy Planning coordinates many of the agency’s long-range policy initiatives.  Information obtained during this workshop will allow both the FTC and the DOJ to take the pulse of the health care sector to support the agencies’ enforcement, advocacy, and consumer education efforts in this important sector of the economy.

Make your appointment today. We hope you will join us on Feb. 24-25. Paper gowns optional.

Comments

...open to public, yes? I would love to be There; I'm ever learning and unoccupied at the moment- great use of my time and mind. Thanks...

Yes, FTC workshops are free and open to the public. On February 24, we will post a link to the webcast on our homepage for anyone unable to attend. Thanks!

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