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19% of South Carolina hospitals sold in 6 years, new data shows

CMS on April 20 released public data on mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and ownership changes of hospitals and nursing homes enrolled in Medicare, the first time this data has been reported.

The data includes transactions from 2016 to 2022, and is part of President Joe Biden's executive order to encourage competition and transparency in U.S. healthcare, according to an April 20 HHS news release.

HHS' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation also released a report analyzing the data April 20, which found:

  1. Ownership changes were more common in nursing homes than hospitals from 2016 to 2021.
  2. Nineteen percent of hospitals, or 14 out of 73, in South Carolina were sold over the last six years. Comparatively, most states experienced a less than 4 percent rate of hospital ownership change. 
  3. Most of the skilled nursing facilities that were purchased have a single organizational owner (62.3 percent). Meanwhile, 6.9 percent have multiple organizations owners, 18.2 percent have individual owners and 12.7 percent have both types of owners.

CMS will release updated data on a quarterly basis, according to the news release.

"Hospital and nursing facility consolidation leaves many underserved areas with inadequate or more expensive healthcare options," CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in the release. "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."

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