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FTC orders major payers, 2 health systems to turn over data for merger study

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered five major health insurers and two hospital systems to hand over various cost and claims data to help the agency study the effects of hospital mergers.

The insurers — Aetna, Anthem, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Cigna and United Healthcare — were asked to provide claims data.

The health systems, Johnson City, Tenn.-based Ballad Health and Cabell Huntington (W.Va.) Hospital, were asked to provide patient billing, discharge and salary data. 

The FTC intends to use the data to study government-sanctioned hospital mergers, called "certificates of public advantage."

Certificates of public advantage are regulatory policies that some states use as a workaround to approve mergers while avoiding federal antitrust scrutiny.

Certificates of public advantage were recently approved for Ballad Health and Cabell Huntington Hospital. 

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CHS' shrinking hospital portfolio: 12 latest divestitures

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