Summary of the Federal Trade Commission Workshop: "A Health Check on COPAs: Assessing the Impact of Certificates of Public Advantage in Healthcare Markets''
American Health Lawyers Association, August 2019
Certificates of Public Advantage (COPAs) are state cooperative agreements granting hospitals or other health care providers immunity from antitrust laws. They allow states to limit competition in favor of regulation to try to balance efficiency, quality of care, and protection from anticompetitive conduct. In June 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a public workshop that offered assessments from academics, health policy experts, regulators, law enforcers, and health care industry stakeholders of the impacts of COPAs on health care markets. Included were four studies on the effects of hospital mergers operating under COPAs.
In August 2019, the American Health Lawyers Association published a summary of this workshop written by Analysis Group Managing Principal Samuel Weglein, Vice President Yao Lu, and Senior Analyst Jed Quint. “Summary of the Federal Trade Commission Workshop: ‘A Health Check on COPAs: Assessing the Impact of Certificates of Public Advantage In Healthcare Markets’” provided an overview of the workshop’s five sessions on COPA-related issues.
Among the issues discussed in the workshop sessions were assessments of whether COPA oversight and local competition have limited monopolistic tendencies following a merger; what effect amending, weakening, or repealing COPAs has had on health care prices, quality, and access; and the challenges that regulators face in designing and supervising COPAs.