Foley & Lardner LLP partner Diane Hazel is quoted in the Fierce Healthcare article, “Federal judge sides with LCMC Health, Louisiana over FTC’s challenge to 3-hospital purchase,” commenting on a recent decision in a lawsuit pitting federal hospital merger regulations and state-issued exemptions against each other.
Hazel described the decision as “a significant ruling” for hospital transactions in states with Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) laws.
“For hospital transactions, preparing [a Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR)] filing and abiding by the mandatory waiting period under the HSR Act is a substantial burden,” she explained. “Now, for hospital mergers that secure a state COPA meeting the requisite requirements, they likely can avoid that burden. As the FTC and DOJ recently announced a proposed overhaul of the HSR reporting process, being exempted from the HSR requirements is no small thing.”
Hazel noted that hospital parties considering such a deal should still consult with legal counsel “as part of the Court’s ruling was based on the specific COPA at issue in Louisiana.” She also observed that another federal district court could land at a different conclusion.
“But, because of the significance of this decision and the broader ramifications for the FTC’s merger review, we should anticipate that the FTC will likely appeal to the Fifth Circuit,” she added. “This may not be the end of story.”