Washington, D.C. partner Rob McCann was quoted in an article for American Health Line titled, “Federal Appeals Court Rules Hospital, Physician Practice Merger Violates Antitrust Laws.”
The article discussed how a federal appeals court has ruled that Idaho-based St. Luke's Health System's 2012 acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group, a physician practice in the state, violated state and federal antitrust laws.
The Federal Trade Commission filed suit against St. Luke's after the hospital purchased Saltzer, claiming the merger was anti-competitive and could lead to higher patient costs. In January 2014, a federal judge ruled in favor of FTC and ordered the providers to dissolve the merger. The judge expressed concern that the merger would be too dominant and able to raise prices whenever it desired, adding that hospitals still could coordinate with physicians without purchasing the groups.
Rob said the ruling shows that courts are not ready to recognize that arrangements to facilitate value-based care delivery can help consumers in ways that are not adequately reflected in traditional interpretations of antitrust law. “If consumers ... benefit as a result of the merger in certain ways, that's something to be considered side-by-side with traditional market power to raise prices,” he said.