AFT Resolution

FIGHTING BACK AGAINST CONSOLIDATION IN HEALTHCARE

WHEREAS, merger and acquisition activity in healthcare is occurring in record numbers, and 2016 has been called the “year of merger mania”; and

WHEREAS, market concentration among health systems is associated with higher prices for healthcare services, as evidenced by hospital mergers that have resulted in prices being raised by as much as 20 percent; and

WHEREAS, limited transparency in the healthcare industry renders impacts of mergers difficult to measure, and evidence points to increased prices for patients in merged hospital markets without an accompanying improvement in the quality of care; and

WHEREAS, consolidation too often results in staffing cuts, the termination of less profitable units (like maternity and dialysis) without respect to community needs, and the relocation of decision making outside of the community the hospital serves; and

WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced in state legislatures and in Congress that would hinder or eliminate the ability of government agencies to conduct independent reviews of merger and acquisition transactions, and that would lessen the degree of scrutiny applied in reviewing proposed transactions; and

WHEREAS, some states have laws and policies in place to ensure that any sale, merger or similar transaction meets certain standards agreeable to the community, such as maintaining staffing levels and the overall quality of care, ensuring access to healthcare services and containing the growth in healthcare costs to patients; and

WHEREAS, nurses and healthcare professionals are uniquely positioned as frontline caregivers and trusted community leaders to advocate on behalf of patients and consumers for a healthcare system that puts quality before costs, community before corporate interests, and patients before profits:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will advocate to protect and strengthen federal agencies charged with scrutinizing practices that may harm consumers, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will encourage and support legislative and policy solutions that seek to increase transparency and accountability in the consolidation process, by requiring new owners to meet conditions that ensure communities and patients have access to vital services, regular public reports, no increases in healthcare costs, and quality of care that meets the standards of healthcare professionals; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will encourage and support affiliates that use collective bargaining and other concerted action as a vehicle to secure patient care standards for the common good, by partnering with community groups and leaders to address community needs through the collective bargaining process.

(2016)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.