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FTC Successful Challenge to Hospital Acquisition of Physician Group

    Client Alerts
  • February 10, 2015

In March 2013, the Federal Trade Commission, together with the Idaho Attorney General, filed a complaint seeking to block St. Luke’s Health System’s planned acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group P.A., a multi-specialty physician practice group,  According to the complaint, the combination of St. Luke’s and Saltzer would provide St Luke’s with sufficient market power to demand higher rates for health care services in Nampa, Idaho and surrounding areas, ultimately leading to higher costs for health care consumers.   According to the findings of facts for the case, St. Luke’s and Saltzer combined practices accounted for almost 80 percent of the primary care physicians in the relevant market.  The federal district court ordered St. Luke’s to divest Saltzer’s physicians and assets.

Today (February 10, 2015), the Ninth Circuit upheld the ruling from the lower court and ordered St. Luke’s to unwind its purchase of the practice group.   The court was not swayed by St. Luke’s argument that the acquisition would lead to greater efficiency and quality of care and would help the hospital meets its obligations under healthcare reform.

History of the case is available here.

Parker Poe’s healthcare attorneys advise our healthcare clients regarding a wide range of antitrust matters, including guidance afforded to the healthcare industry as set forth in the Statements of Antitrust Enforcement Policy in Health Care.