On March 22, 2022, the Third Circuit upheld a district court decision granting a preliminary injunction against Hackensack Meridian Health’s plan to acquire Englewood Healthcare, pending the outcome of an administrative trial by the Federal Trade Commission.  The decision aligns with the FTC’s view that the acquisition would reduce available alternatives for inpatient general acute care services in Bergen County, likely leading to an increase in premium and out-of-pocket costs and reducing the quality of care in the area. The decision is the latest in a series of FTC enforcement actions against hospital mergers. Prior to the year 2000, the antitrust agencies had a dismal record in challenging hospital mergers. In the early 2000’s, the FTC launched a project to rethink the
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