Federal Judge Refuses FTC Request to Block Hershey/Pinnacle Deal; FTC to Appeal

12 May 2016 Health Care Law Today Blog

Hospitals and other providers who have been tracking Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice Antitrust Division hospital merger challenges over the last several years will want to take note of the federal district court opinion issued earlier this week denying the FTC’s motion for an injunction to prevent 551-bed Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the three-campus, 646-bed PinnacleHealth from coming together in Pennsylvania’s midstate region—as well as the FTC’s decision to appeal. The pointed opinion by Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania effectively brings the enforcement agencies’ winning streak to an end for the time being, and pushes back on the framework they have recently used to analyze the competitive effects of hospital transactions. Two other FTC challenges to hospital mergers currently awaiting resolution involve many of the same key issues in the Hershey/Pinnacle case and have also been closely watched by providers contemplating affiliations in the face of a recent string of successful challenges by antitrust enforcers.  

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