Healthcare M&A activity for the sector for Q1 2015 included 167 closed deals according to data published by industry data tracker FactSet, with an average enterprise value of $236 million. Favorable credit markets and cash-rich balance sheets are spurring continued strategic activity in the healthcare sector and M&A in general. Private equity buyers are also increasingly active with interest rates remaining at or near record lows. Healthcare services represented more than half of Q1’s transaction total. Other sectors, such as behavioral healthcare and managed care, also had significant activity. Biotechnology and pharmaceuticals were also active sectors driven by investment from venture capital firms.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing revisions to its accountable care organization (ACO) guidelines to increase incentives and reduce penalties for participating health care providers. About 330 Medicare ACOs have been formed since 2012 under rules established in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACOs can earn bonuses for lowering the cost of care and improving quality, but they were scheduled to begin facing penalties in 2015 for exceeding cost benchmarks. The CMS has determined that many ACOs are not ready to assume financial risks associated with the program. To maintain participation, officials have proposed an option where some providers can avoid penalties but earn smaller bonuses for another three years, according to Modern Healthcare.
US consumer prices for medical care commodities, an indicator of healthcare costs, increased 4.2 percent in March 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. US consumer prices for medical care services, an indicator of profitability for healthcare services, rose 1.9 percent in March 2015 compared to the same month in 2014. Total US revenue for healthcare and social assistance rose 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the previous year.