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Originally Posted, 3/9/2022
 
3/24/2022 Edit: The Deadline for FTC merger comments from the public is now April 21, 2021. The FTC delayed the deadline, so please comment if you have not yet already!

Call to action: Comment on Department of Justice/Federal Trade Commission review of mergers
 
You can post anonymously at:
https://www.regulations.gov/document/FTC-2022-0003-0001

 

The DOJ and FTC are requesting feedback on merger guidelines from real people as opposed to corporations. The leaders of TakeMedicineBack believe that the DOJ and FTC are underinformed about consolidation and the growth of private equity (PE) ownership in medicine. This is partly because it is a “rollup” industry with many smaller mergers/acquisitions flying under the radar that individually have not drawn enough attention to scrutinize.
 
Your personal stories are important to our efforts to draw the attention of these agencies to PE in medicine. We believe this will have a significant impact, as many regulators believe that most physicians are benefiting from this arrangement rather than being exploited by it.
 
Your comments can be anonymous. They do not have to be long or referenced. Speak from the heart. We suggest you comment on any of the following you feel comfortable with:
1. Dominance of PE in your specialty or area of the country
2. Financial issues: effects on patients, blinding to what is billed in your name, worries about upcoding and the pressure to do so, etc.
3. Suppression of wages: pay and hour cuts
4. Effects on working conditions: productivity metrics, forced supervision of NPPs, etc.
5. Ability to speak up on behalf of patients, denial of due process
6. Loss of contracts due to joint ventures or cross-subsidy issues (e.g., ED and hospitalist bundling)
7. Inability to compete for ED contracts: non-interference clauses, non-competes
 
You can consider following this framework:
 
I am a(n) [emergency] physician who pursued my field to help patients during their most vulnerable moments. Changes in recent years have made it difficult, if not impossible, for me to deliver high-quality care to my patients while avoiding causing significant financial harm to them. I am not allowed to view what is billed or collected in my name without risking retaliation by my employer, as my contract required me to bypass my due process rights as a condition of employment. The field of emergency medicine has gone through rapid consolidation over the past decade, now with an estimated 50% of emergency physicians employed by private equity-owned entities that prioritize overleveraged debt and corporate profits over patient care. The emergency department is effectively the nation’s only form of universal healthcare due to EMTALA, a government mandate that requires, but does not fund, all emergency patients to be seen regardless of ability to pay. Corporate interests have exploited this inelastic market for profit in detestable ways, cutting staffing and replacing qualified emergency physicians with cheaper, less qualified personnel while driving the out-of-network billing crisis by suing indigent patients and garnishing their wages. I did not become a physician to put desperate, unsuspecting patients into debt. I urge the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a 6B investigation into the effects of emergency medicine staffing group mergers and acquisitions by private equity at the expense of American society.