Supreme Court blocks hospital merger in Georgia

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday ruled against a merger of two hospitals in Georgia--a decision that could give the Federal Trade Commission more clout in deciding the fate of such deals, reported The Wall Street Journal. The deal involves the merger of Phoebe Putney Hospital and Palmyra Park Hospital, two competitors in Albany, Ga. The former is a locally-controlled notprofit, while the latter is a for-profit operated by national operator HCA. State regulators had signed off on the deal in 2011, which had been allowed by lower courts.

But in a unanimous decision, the high court upheld an FTC challenge that the merger would create a local monopoly. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in writing the decision, declared  "there is no evidence the state affirmatively contemplated that hospital authorities would displace competition by consolidating hospital ownership," according to the Wall Street Journal. Article

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