CMS Publicly Releases New Hospital and Nursing Home Ownership Data

04.26.2022

On April 20, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released new data on Medicare-enrolled hospitals and nursing homes that merged, consolidated, became acquired, or had changes of ownership from 2016 to 2022. According to a CMS press release, “[t]his data is a powerful new tool for researchers, state and federal enforcement agencies, and the public to better understand the impacts of consolidation on health care prices and quality of care.” All the same, this new CMS data release is “one of many steps” being taken by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of improving transparency and accountability and promoting competition.

This new CMS data, which is available at https://data.cms.gov and based on information reported by providers to CMS through the Medicare Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS), will be updated quarterly. CMS will post quarterly updates from PECOS of any changes of ownership for hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Generally, providers that experience a change in ownership must update their owner data within 30 days.

HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released a report that analyzes the newly released change in ownership data. Overall, the ASPE in its report found that provider changes of ownership are fairly common, more so with SNFs than with hospitals. It also found that “[l]ess profitable and medium to large hospitals were the most commonly-sold hospitals.” Specifically for South Carolina, the ASPE concluded that “[o]ver the period from 2016 to 2021, . . . South Carolina had the highest rate of hospital ownership change; of its 73 hospitals, 14 (19.2%) changed ownership during this six-year period . . . A majority of states had rates of 4% or lower.”

This data is consistent with the trend of consolidations of hospitals and nursing homes we have observed over the past several years. Now, with CMS having released this data publicly for the first time, such hospital and nursing home consolidations are subject to additional scrutiny by persons and organizations who previously had no immediate access to detailed hospital and nursing home change of ownership information.

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