Attorney General Ford Joins Federal Trade Commission to Maintain Competition in Nevada’s Health Care System

June 20, 2019

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford announced the filing of court documents that protect Nevadans and address anticompetitive harm that would result from UnitedHealth Group’s (“United’s”) acquisition of DaVita Medical Holdings, LLC, the holding company for DaVita Medical Group (“DMG”). The documents, including a Stipulated Judgment, contain commitments from all defendants to maintain competition in the health care field and access to medical care by primary care physicians, specialty physicians and other healthcare providers in Clark County and Nye County.

    “These two networks play a vital role in our community’s health and provide quality medical services,” said AG Ford. “Our agreement will help to ensure that health care costs stay competitive and not impact the availability of doctors for covered patients, especially our senior citizens.”

      In both counties, DMG operates the HealthCare Partners of Nevada (“HCPNV”) network. United, through Optum, Inc., operates the OptumCare network in the same two counties, which consists of physicians employed by or associated with Southwest Medical Associates, OptumCare Medical Group, and OptumCare Specialty Care. Both the OptumCare network and HCPNV employ or affiliate with a significant number of primary care physicians and specialists to ensure the coordination of patient care and control the costs of delivering proper care to patients, including a significant number of Medicare Advantage members in southern Nevada. The merger would have brought both of these vital networks under common ownership, which caused anticompetitive concerns.

        Following a joint investigation with the Federal Trade Commission, the Attorney General required the parties to divest HCPNV as a condition of their merger. IHC Health Services, a subsidiary of Intermountain Health Care Inc., will acquire HCPNV. Intermountain Healthcare is a Utah-based, not-for-profit system, and its Utah operations include 23 hospitals, 1,600 physicians and 170 clinics. Intermountain also operates SelectHealth, which began offering Medicare Advantage plans in southern Nevada in 2019.

          The Stipulated Judgment memorializes the agreements of the parties through an enforceable court document, and incorporates the defendant’s commitments to the Federal Trade Commission concerning the divestiture of HCPNV. The Judgment also ensures that the Nevada Attorney General can monitor their compliance with those commitments in real time, and provides the Attorney General enforcement authority if needed in the future.

            The Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection worked closely with the Federal Trade Commission in this matter.