Judge rules hospital merger anticompetitive

In a win for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an administrative judge this week ruled that a partnership between ProMedica and St. Luke's Hospital in Ohio is anticompetitive, reports the Toledo Blade.

ProMedica, which says the partnership is not anticompetitive, plans to appeal the decision, reports Columbus Business First.

"We remain completely committed to this partnership and believe it is the right thing to do for the community," ProMedica said in a statement.

ProMedica has 11 hospitals in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. The FTC has argued that if the partnership goes through, the hospital and health system will create market dominance, particularly in acute-care and inpatient obstetrical services. The FTC stated that, as a result, hospital rates could rise more than 56 percent at St. Luke's and by 11 percent at other ProMedica hospitals, according to the Toledo Blade.

A preliminary injunction in March prevented the two from merging.

ProMedica previously suggested in a statement that care collaboration efforts under health reform motivates this merger and others like it when the FTC challenged the partnership in August.

"This action by the FTC is inconsistent with the integration and coordination that healthcare reform both encourages and requires," said ProMedica in a previous statement.

For more information:
- read the Toledo Blade article
- read the Columbus Business First article

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