Press Release

Nurses support FTC’s antitrust review of Tulane/LCMC hospital deal

Photo of Tulane University Medical Center
Photo by Tulane University Medical Center

Nurses in the New Orleans area support the recent decision by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to halt a proposed deal between HCA Healthcare and LCMC Health, National Nurses United (NNU) shared today. Nurses opposed the proposed acquisition and are glad to see the FTC pursuing a review of potential federal antitrust law violations, as the proposed deal’s impacts on health care costs and access in New Orleans would be disastrous.

“We’re glad to see the FTC’s intervention,” said Calia Chavis, RN, who works in Tulane’s Abdominal Transplant Unit. “Nurses know that consolidation is bad for our community. LCMC has already said that they intend to close Tulane Medical Center, leaving an important part of our city without access to care. We’re hopeful that a proper review of this deal will find that it's a bad deal for the people of New Orleans, as it threatens to destroy vital health care services.”

“Consolidation like this means service shutdowns, and anti-competitive business moves like this mean increased prices for our patients, who already struggle to get and afford the care that they need and deserve,” said Mea Ratcliff, RN, who works in Tulane’s Transplant Clinic. “Make no mistake, mergers and acquisitions like this only serve to increase profits for corporate healthcare at the expense of patients, nurses, and communities.”

Nurses believe LCMC’s proposed acquisition of Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, Tulane Lakeside Hospital in Metairie, La., and Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington, La., represents a serious threat to health care access and costs in New Orleans and beyond. NNU previously called on Louisiana’s attorney general to intervene on grounds of the deal’s threat to the public interest in maintaining vital services at lower prices.

NNU has also previously called on the FTC and U.S. Department of Justice to strengthen antitrust scrutiny of deals like this one, as nurses have seen firsthand how conditions deteriorate at hospitals taken over by major health care corporations. Recently, NNU engaged with the FTC on a proposed acquisition in Salt Lake City, which would have seen HCA acquire five Steward Health Care facilities in a region where 80 percent of Utah’s residents live. The FTC ultimately sued to block the merger, citing concerns the move would reduce service availability, increase market concentration, and eliminate lower-cost competition.

NNU nurses have seen firsthand how the use of Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) laws like the one used in New Orleans have led to havoc for communities, resulting in service cuts and higher prices. In Asheville, N.C., unionized nurses at HCA’s Mission Hospital have continually raised concerns about the negative impacts of HCA’s 2019 takeover on patient care and working conditions, detailed recently in an NBC News exposé, which reported that HCA had doubled its earnings from 2020 to 2021 to the tune of almost $7 billion.

“These large systems like HCA hide behind COPA laws to monopolize health care in communities,” said Chavis. “These consolidation schemes do not make health care better or more accessible. They only line the pockets of executives and shareholders.”

The FTC itself has warned that, “Certificate of Public Advantage (‘COPA’) laws attempt to immunize hospital mergers from antitrust laws by replacing competition with state oversight. COPAs facilitate hospital consolidation, which is a key driver of higher healthcare costs without improvements in quality of care. Indeed, hospitals only seek COPAs for specific mergers that would otherwise violate antitrust laws and often result in monopolies.”

For nearly two decades, NNU researchers have chronicled skyrocketing costs created by practices the hospital industry engages in and found that mergers and acquisitions have been a major driver of price hikes for patients. One recent NNU report found that, nationally, U.S. hospitals average $417 in charges to patients for every $100 in operating costs, a markup that has more than doubled over the past 20 years. High hospital prices are a major factor in patients avoiding or delaying medical care, which has serious, long-term impacts on individual and community health.

National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. To learn more about NNU’s project regarding the hospital consolidation crisis, visit