E. 1. The Authority shall recommend for approval by the Commissioner a proposed cooperative agreement if it determines that the benefits likely to result from the proposed cooperative agreement outweigh the disadvantages likely to result from a reduction in competition from the proposed cooperative agreement.
2. In evaluating the potential benefits of a proposed cooperative agreement, the Authority shall consider whether one or more of the following benefits may result from the proposed cooperative agreement:
a. Enhancement of the quality of hospital and hospital-related care, including mental health services and treatment of substance abuse, provided to citizens served by the Authority, resulting in improved patient satisfaction;
b. Enhancement of population health status consistent with the regional health goals established by the Authority;
c. Preservation of hospital facilities in geographical proximity to the communities traditionally served by those facilities to ensure access to care;
d. Gains in the cost-efficiency of services provided by the hospitals involved;
e. Improvements in the utilization of hospital resources and equipment;
f. Avoidance of duplication of hospital resources;
g. Participation in the state Medicaid program; and
h. Total cost of care.
3. The Authority’s evaluation of any disadvantages attributable to any reduction in competition likely to result from the proposed cooperative agreement shall include, but need not be limited to, the following factors:
a. The extent of any likely adverse impact of the proposed cooperative agreement on the ability of health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations, managed health care organizations, or other health care payors to negotiate reasonable payment and service arrangements with hospitals, physicians, allied health care professionals, or other health care providers;
b. The extent of any reduction in competition among physicians, allied health professionals, other health care providers, or other persons furnishing goods or services to, or in competition with, hospitals that is likely to result directly or indirectly from the proposed cooperative agreement;
c. The extent of any likely adverse impact on patients in the quality, availability, and price of health care services; and
d. The availability of arrangements that are less restrictive to competition and achieve the same benefits or a more favorable balance of benefits over disadvantages attributable to any reduction in competition likely to result from the proposed cooperative agreement.