On May 9, 2024, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the formation of the Antitrust Division’s Task Force on Health Care Monopolies and Collusion (“HCMC”). The HCMC “will guide the division’s enforcement strategy and policy approach in health care, including by facilitating policy advocacy, investigations and, where warranted, civil and criminal enforcement in health care markets.”

Headed by Antitrust Division veteran Katrina Rouse, the HCMC will focus on addressing competition concerns broadly in the health care industry, including:

  • Payer-provider consolidation
  • Serial acquisitions
  • Labor issues and quality of care
  • Medical billing
  • Health care IT services
  • Access to and misuse of healthcare data

The formation of the HCMC comes on the heels of the April 18 launch of a multi-agency online portal for the public to report health care practices that may harm competition. Sponsored by the DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), and the Department of Health and Human Services, the online portal was created as a “one-stop shop to report potential violations” of competition laws to the FTC and DOJ and is described as part of an ongoing effort to advance the Biden Administration’s goal of using the competition laws to achieve lower healthcare and prescription drug costs.

With an online portal and task force in place, significant investigations are likely to follow before long. Health care providers of all kinds should examine their antitrust policies and inter-company relationships, particularly any efforts involving cooperation or communication with competitors. In addition, given this administration’s focus on labor issues, hospitals and other employers should pay particular attention to their contracting and employment practices. The Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Employment, and Health Care attorneys at Vedder Price are ready to assist you in preparing your business for this new enforcement initiative.