FTC Sues To Block New Jersey Healthcare Merger

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) authorized an administrative complaint and a suit in federal court to block the acquisition of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System by RWJBarnabas Health, or RWJ, one of the largest hospital systems in New Jersey.

The complaint presented by the FTC alleges the acquisition will harm competition for inpatient general acute care services in the Middlesex area, in central New Jersey. These services include a broad range of essential medical and surgical diagnostic and treatment services that require an overnight hospital stay.

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“Saint Peter’s University Hospital is less than one mile away from RWJ in New Brunswick, and they are the only two hospitals in that city,” said FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova. “There is overwhelming evidence that this acquisition would be bad for patients, because the parties would no longer have to compete to provide the lowest prices and the best quality and service.”

The acquisition would give the combined healthcare system a market share of approximately 50 percent for general acute care services in Middlesex County as a whole, easily resulting in a presumption of harm under the antitrust laws, according to the complaint.

Headquartered in West Orange, N.J., RWJ is a non-profit corporation that operates 12 general acute care hospitals, several ambulatory surgical centers, a pediatric rehabilitation hospital, and a freestanding behavioral health center in New Jersey. Saint Peter’s Healthcare is a non-profit corporation headquartered in New Brunswick, N.J., that operates an independent hospital and includes a state-designated children’s hospital.

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