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Tennessee should review HCA Healthcare's proposed purchase of Springfield, Tenn.-based NorthCrest Health, labor and union groups wrote in a letter to state Attorney General Herbert Slatery.

At the end of March, Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA said it would purchase NorthCrest. Under the agreement, which requires regulatory approval, NorthCrest will be part of HCA's TriStar Health, which includes 10 hospitals in Tennessee.

The letter, signed by Middle Tennessee Jobs with Justice, the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and SEIU Local 205, argued the proposed deal "would likely substantially harm competition and have significant consequences on Tennessee patients and the larger healthcare industry in the region." They also raised concerns about how consolidation would affect healthcare prices in the Springfield area, and asked Mr. Slatery to review how the deal would affect patient care.

Labor advocacy organizations Jobs With Justice and The Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee along with the local arm of the SEIU wrote in a letter Friday morning that the sale of NorthCrest Hospital and its surrounding physician groups to HCA would limit the community’s health care options and lead to higher prices.

National Nurses United, a nurses union with more than 170,000 members — including 12,000 HCA nurses — that supports Medicare-for-all and other social justice issues, has also written a letter to Slatery asking him to reject the transaction. NNU’s Southern Regional Director Bradley Van Waus wrote that allowing HCA to take over NorthCrest’s facilities would “carry a high risk of abuse.”

Van Waus went on to say he fears HCA will shift service lines out of NorthCrest to the seven other hospitals in the TriStar network that takes over much of Middle Tennessee, “negatively impacting the local community’s proximity to needed care and services as it has proven to do in other regional systems,” he said.

Over a recent 12-month period, 116 people filed complaints to the North Carolina Attorney General's office about Mission Health. . . . Attorney General Josh Stein approved the sale of Mission to HCA Healthcare back in 2019.

Complaints to NC Attorney general pie chart

Most were related to billing issues, another 23% were concerns over quality of care, 16% related to loss of services, 7% were from current or former employees of Mission Health, and 5% were over charity care.

“Once HCA happened, it was a drastic change," the former employee said. "Really, I feel like all that we got was having to work harder with less.”

"Whatever the issue is, we want to make sure Mission is complying with the commitments they made under the APA a couple years ago, they're complying with the law, but also that they're doing the right thing by their patients," the attorney general said.

“It's a concerning number, 116 over a year," Stein replied. "That's a lot, so we're sharing our serious concerns with the management of the health system and we are going to be on top of this to the extent we possibly can.

The North Carolina attorney general's office received 116 complaints about Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health over a 12-month period.”

Mr. Stein told the publication that his office recently dedicated one of his employees to keeping track of all the complaints about Mission Health.

Mission Health was acquired by Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare in 2019. HCA agreed to certain commitments as part of the deal, including keeping major Mission Health facilities open and continuing to provide certain services.

Since the acquisition, there have been a number of physician exits from the health system, and an independent monitor is looking into the reason behind the exits.

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