OHSU and Legacy Collaborate on Answers to State Questions on Proposed Merger

They have joint committees on access, equity, quality and cost, according to an internal email.

Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital. (Tim Saputo)

Oregon Health & Science University is still in hot pursuit of crosstown rival Legacy Health.

In an email to staff, chief administrative officer Connie Seeley said OHSU has formed four work groups to gather data and respond to questions from the state of Oregon about the purchase.

“We continue to work with Legacy Health to reach a definitive agreement on our possible combination,” Seeley wrote.

As part of the process, OHSU must pass muster with Oregon’s Health Care Marketplace Oversight program, a division of the Oregon Health Authority mandated by the state Legislature in 2022 to review “proposed business deals to make sure they will help—and not hurt—Oregon’s shared goals of health equity, lower consumer costs, increased access, and better care,” according to OHA’s website.

OHSU and Legacy are collaborating on responses to questions from the state agency, Seeley wrote. The four work groups, made up of subject-matter experts, government relations personnel, and communications staff, deal with access, equity, quality and cost, Seeley said in her email.

“Specific details are limited at this time, but we want to give you a look ahead,” Seeley wrote.

Regulatory review will begin once the application is filed, Seeley said, and will take nine to 12 months.

“During that period, leadership will collaborate closely with managers to gather input and ensure a smooth transition in the event the combination is approved to move forward,” Seeley wrote. “Our goal is to ensure a seamless transition. We remain committed to serving our communities as we do today.”

OHSU announced its intention to purchase Legacy Health in August. The purchase faces regulatory scrutiny by the state and the Federal Trade Commission. If it goes through, the deal would create Portland’s biggest employer, with some 32,000 doctors, nurses and other staff, 10 hospitals, and 3 million patient visits a year.

Experts say the Biden administration, which has fought large mergers across a number of industries, could be the biggest hurdle. Many studies, including one from the Rand Corporation in 2020, show that health care mergers increase costs for consumers, making them a target for anti-trust regulators.

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