Healthcare M&A bill up for discussion again in North Carolina

House Bill 737, which would give more regulatory oversight in planned healthcare mergers and acquisitions, is back on the negotiating table in North Carolina, according to a May 22 report in the Winston-Salem Journal.

As the state legislature nears a summer adjournment, the previously shelved bill has resurfaced amid criticism from local regulators about the lack of transparency and late notice of healthcare deals, such as the December merger of Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health and Downers Grove, Ill.-based Advocate Aurora Health. 

One of the requirements of the bill would be more public accountability of health systems planning such transactions, according to the report.

"There is no obligation on a healthcare system that's considering a transaction to engage the public, their own community, about 'what do you think about this transaction?' North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said in the report. "That's a requirement in this bill."

The bill, if passed into law, would also allow for up to 90 days for the attorney general's office to conduct a review.

Atrium Health did not respond to a request for comment. Greensboro, N.C.-based Cone Health, which is in dispute with Atrium Health about the latter's proposed new hospital in Greensboro, said it would wait until after a House hearing on the bill, due to take place May 23, before making any comment.

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