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Hospitals to DOJ: UnitedHealth’s purchase of Change Healthcare will curtail competition

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A multibillion-dollar acquisition involving an insurance giant and health technology company has the country’s most prominent hospital group very concerned.

The American Hospital Association sent a letter to the Department of Justice Wednesday, saying that Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group’s plans to purchase Change Healthcare through its subsidiary Optum is anticompetitive.

Optum plans to purchase Change Healthcare in a $13.5 billion all-cash transaction, adding the health technology company’s software, data analytics capabilities, research and revenue cycle management offerings to its roster. The deal, announced in January, is expected to close in the second half of the year.

The hospital association — which includes nearly 5,000 members — is urging the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division to conduct a thorough review of the transaction, saying it may reduce competition in the sale of health IT products and services to providers.

Specifically, the acquisition could lower competition in the following areas, the group said in the letter: Claims clearinghouse services Payment accuracy […]

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