FTC Reportedly Looking into Home Health Wages in Review of UnitedHealth Group-LHC Group Deal

Last month, UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) and LHC Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG) each received a request from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for more information in regards to the former’s pending $5.4 billion acquisition of the latter.

New details have emerged on what exactly the FTC is looking for in its probe.

Broadly, under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, when one party of large scale attempts to acquire another of large scale, there must be a waiting period until the deal is finalized. Due to the requests from the FTC, those waiting periods can be extended.


The FTC’s second request into the acquisition is supposedly centered around worker pay in home health care, according to a Wednesday report from Seeking Alpha, citing Dealreporter. The information came from sources “familiar with the matter,” according to the report.

Hospice and personal care wages were not mentioned in the report, though LHC Group is a large provider of those services as well.

Overall, the Lafayette, Louisiana-based company delivers home health, hospice and home- and community-based services and facility-based care across 37 states and the District of Columbia. It employs about 30,000 individuals.


In particular, the FTC is reportedly looking at how minimum wage workers in the space bargain for higher wages.

In 2021, the average hourly rate for registered nurses working for for-profit home health agencies was $34.43, according to the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service. Not-for-profit agency pay, in comparison, was $36.17 per hour.

Often, wages are dependent on rate increases, given home health care’s ties to Medicare as a payer. In some cases, workers’ wages have increased over the last couple years, as providers competed for workers in tight labor markets.

Similar deals in the past, such as Kindred Healthcare’s sale to Apollo Global, also received a second FTC request, the Seeking Alpha report also noted.

UnitedHealth Group – and its subsidiary Optum – announced plans to purchase LHC Group on March 29. The companies have said they are working with the FTC and will continue to do so, hoping the transaction will be finalized at some point during the third quarter of this year.

Though there are reports that the second request from FTC was unexpected, there is a chance the two parties were ready for this development, given precedent in other deals.

LHC Group did not respond to a request for comment from Home Health Care News prior to publishing this story.

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