Petition Launched to Demand State Hearing on Shannon Health's Acquisition of SACMC
SAN ANGELO, TX — An Irving lawyer has launched a petition to gather and prove public support for a public hearing with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office before State approval of Shannon Health’s asset acquisition of San Angelo Community Medical Center.
The Federal Trade Commission today announced their reservations about the pending hospital monopoly in the San Angelo and Abilene regions. In addition to Shannon Health’s announced asset purchase of Community Health System’s hospital SACMC in San Angelo, Hendrick Health announced its purchase of CHS’s Abilene Regional Medical Center and the only hospital in Brownwood also owned by CHS.
The Federal Trade Commission estimated that Shannon’s acquisition will render the non-profit hospital 62.3 percent marketshare post-acquisition. Today, the FTC estimates Shannon holds 46.6 percent of the market. In Abilene, a post acquisition Hendrick Medical is estimated by the FTC to increase its marketshare from 53.3 percent to 85.1 percent.
Laird previously expressed his concerns about the proposed Certificate of Public Advantage, or COPA, that is currently under consideration for approval at the Texas Department of Health and Human Services and the at the Texas AG. Once the COPA is approved, Laird maintains, the financial strength of the Shannon monopoly will render the non-profit hospital untouchable in anti-trust legal proceedings and end the existence of private medical practices of independent doctors within Shannon’s region.
State Rep. Drew Darby, who co-authored and sponsored the COPA legislation during the last Texas Legislature’s session, downplayed the FTC’s objections.
“I am committed to serving my constituents by supporting policies that help folks in the Concho Valley tackle obstacles such as reliable, affordable, quality healthcare. I am concerned about the opinion letter from paper pushing bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. – people who do not live, work, or even receive medical services in our community – that applies dry and mathematical metrics to rural Texas healthcare. Texas is the leading state in rural hospital closures, which causes severe economic impacts to families and businesses. I was proud to work with other rural colleagues to put a tool in place for our communities to utilize and I support the efforts of my San Angelo community as they navigate what works best for our region,” Darby said in the prepared statement.
SACMC is owned by Kentucky-based Community Health Systems. The corporation has recently been shedding under-performing hospitals from its network over the past 18 months. The San Angelo, Abilene, and Brownwood hospital sales are three of four planned CHS hospital sales in Texas.
Laird said the petition cannot stop the acquisition or State approval of the COPA, but rather it is to encourage the State Attorney General to hold a public hearing on Shannon Health’s COPA during the approval process. The process was delayed a month giving time and momentum to Laird’s petition drive.
Laird claimed to have already collected 25 signatures as of Sept. 16. “The more we signatures we can collect, the better chance we get the public hearing San Angelo deserves,” Laird said.
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