TN: A health care merger asking lawmakers to keep certain “competitive” records confidential

A health care merger with a promise of transparency is now the subject of legislation to keep certain information confidential.

Ballad Health is asking lawmakers in Tennessee to keep some of their “competitive” records from the public’s view. The not-for-profit said the changes are needed to make sure the new health system has a fair chance to compete with other health systems and for-profit health care companies.

“While Ballad Health is subject to state oversight, it is not a public entity,” the health system said in a statement.  “We must continue to be able to compete with health systems outside our region for recruitment of medical professionals as well as services that people are currently leaving our region to obtain…Most of our revenue comes from outpatient services, where Ballad Health has a minority market share, with competition in the region coming from some of the largest for-profit health care companies in America. The legislature never intended for those companies to have an unfair competitive advantage in the local marketplace.”  

Sen. Rusty Crowe (R), District 3, is sponsoring the legislation on Ballad’s behalf. He said the health system provided him with a draft proposal in recent weeks. Both Ballad and the senator assured the public the merged organization will still be more transparent than any other health system in Tennessee.

“This legislation just says that those things that are normally held as proprietary information in hospital systems as they operate and try to provide health care to their citizens will be held as proprietary information for Ballad,” Sen. Crowe said. Read more…