THE BUNDESKARTELLAMT HAS PUBLISHED A FINAL REPORT ON THE SECTOR INQUIRY INTO GERMAN HOSPITALS
The German competition Authority, Bundeskartellamt, has published the final report on its sector inquiry into German hospitals. The outcome is that merger control guarantees competition and quality of health care for the population.
The inquiry covered almost 22% of all hospitals in Germany and analyzed anonymized data on all their treatment cases. In addition, approximately 600 registered physicians were surveyed by way of example. The purpose of this inquiry was to analyze the competition conditions and scope of action for hospitals in Germany and help develop the Bundeskartellamt’s merger control practice.
According to the inquiry:
- German hospitals compete with one another at the local level: Existing regulatory requirements do not prevent hospitals from setting themselves apart from their competitors in terms of the services or quality they offer. Besides the recommendations of the physicians, the decisive competitive factor for the patients is the quality of the treatment.
- Merger control and hospital planning coexist: Only merger control can safeguard operator diversity as it can influence ownership of or control over a hospital and prevent competing hospitals from falling under the control of the same operator or group of companies. Meaning that, merger control guarantees operator diversity but also the scope of action of the planning authorities.
- Further development of the Bundeskartellamt’s merger control practice: the inquiry highlights the importance of consistent merger control in the hospital sector. It has helped the Authority to improve its knowledge regarding the definition of the product markets and the geographic markets. The criteria for considering the closeness of competition between hospitals have been refined.
(Bundeskartellamt - 02.09.2021)
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