During a stop in Asheville Wed. morning, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein made his first comments about the lawsuit filed against HCA Healthcare.
Stein says his office reviewed the lawsuit against the for-profit corporation that owns Mission Health and will be monitoring the case with “great interest.”
“When one hospital system buys another hospital, very often the result is higher prices and decreased quality,” Stein said. “What we’re doing is studying the law here, studying the law across the country, and I want to work with the legislature to ensure my office has the appropriate authority to review these transactions going forward.”
The lawsuit alleges that before it was acquired by HCA, Mission abused its monopoly power to charge exorbitantly high rates. Stein’s office had to approve the sale of Mission, and he believes it handled the sale appropriately. But Stein added that doesn’t mean he thought the transaction was a good idea in the first place.
Stein met with reporters at a new wetland habitat area at the NC Arboretum, highlighting a $26,000 grant his office awarded to study frogs and improve water quality.
He also updated the media on the status of the national opioid settlement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three companies that distributed opioid painkillers. Stein says counties can expect to see their allocations of North Carolina’s $850 million share of the settlement in April of next year. Part of Stein’s stop in Western North Carolina included visits to recovery centers to discuss the distribution of those funds.
“The local governments have to spend the money in a way that will make people’s lives better,” Stein said.