New DOJ guidelines affect hospital mergers

As hospitals across the country find themselves merging, acquiring, or consolidating, updated policies from the Department of Justice (DOJ) provide guidelines to remedy the merger process, released today.

As an update to the 2004 policy guide, the new edition includes behavioral and conduct remedies for businesses on an ongoing basis, reports the Financial Times.

The Department of Justice stresses that even though the guidelines are updated, "the goal of the Antitrust Division remains the same--to provide an effective remedy to eliminate the anticompetitive effects of a proposed transaction," the DOJ said in a statement.

The Antitrust Division aims to protect consumers from anticompetitive mergers. Acknowledging that most mergers are not anticompetitive, the Antitrust Division says that, in some cases, acquisitions and mergers reduce competition and result in anticompetitive coordination.

"In every case, the Antitrust Division focuses on the specific facts of the proposed transaction. We are prepared to clear a merger, block a merger or accept a remedy that maintains efficiencies as long as the result eliminates any competitive harm," said Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney of the DOJ's Antitrust Division in a statement.

"In the current environment of increasing transnational mergers and complex vertical transactions, the Antitrust Division must be ever nimble in its efforts to ensure that any remedies effectively preserve competition, promote innovation and protect consumers. The updated policy guide takes into account these changes," he said.

To learn more:
- read the DOJ press release
- check out the DOJ guidelines (.pdf)
- see The Financial Times article (reg. req.)