Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Underwriter Message

Attorney general’s office could receive notification for health care mergers under new bill

Senator Chris Garten in a blue suit with white dress shirt and red tie.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Sen. Chris Garten (R-Charlestown), one of the authors of Senate Bill 9, said the bill does not give the attorney general’s office the authority to approve or deny the merger or acquisition.

Lawmakers want to address the “over consolidation” of health care in Indiana. A bill passed by a Senate committee would require the attorney general to be notified of certain mergers and acquisitions.

Hospitals and other “health care entities” that have mergers and acquisitions that cross a $10 million threshold would be required to notify the attorney general for an antitrust review.

Sen. Chris Garten (R-Charlestown), one of the authors of Senate Bill 9, said the bill does not give the attorney general’s office the authority to approve or deny the merger or acquisition.

“Why would a simple notification be so bad?” Garten said. “Why would it not be in the best interest of Hoosier taxpayers to ensure there are no antitrust issues in the health care space?”

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 765-275-1120. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues, including our project Civically, Indiana and our 2024 legislative bill tracker.

The bill does not have any penalty provision if someone fails to notify the attorney general.

Some lawmakers raised concerns about the potential of sensitive business information becoming public since the attorney general would be allowed to file a civil investigative demand. Scott Barnhart, Consumer Protection Division director for the attorney general’s office, said confidentiality would not be an issue.

“We receive market moving information on a regular basis, and we keep that confidential,” Barnhart said. “We deal with a lot of, highly sensitive, confidential information in a large part of our investigations, particularly in the Consumer Protection Division.”

The bill is based on a recommendation from the Health Care Cost Oversight Task Force.

The Senate Health and Provider Services Committee passed the bill unanimously.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

Tags
Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.