The US FTC challenges a merger in the hospital sector between a physician practice group and a hospital (Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Nampa / St. Luke’s Health System)

In late January, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prevailed in a challenge to a hospital merger involving an issue of great significance to the current health care marketplace: the acquisition of physician practice groups. In Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Nampa v. St. Luke’s Health System, [1] the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho held that St. Luke’s Health System’s acquisition of the Saltzer Medical Group violated section 7 of the Clayton Act and the Idaho Competition Act. The case is not only the latest in a long line of cases applying merger principles to the health care industry, but also shows the tension between those principles and the promotion of more efficient health care through the integration of health care providers. ST. LUKE’S LITIGATION AND DECISION

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