FTC Sues To Block Methodist’s Acquisition Of Hospitals

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued to block Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s proposed US$350 million acquisition of Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis and Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett from Tenet Healthcare.

The FTC announced it had filed a complaint alleging the planned deal would cause health care costs to rise, adding that it “would substantially lessen competition in the Memphis area for a broad range of inpatient medical and surgical, diagnostic and treatment services that require an overnight hospital stay, known as inpatient general acute care services, sold to commercial insurers and their insured members.”

The FTC voted 5-0 to issue the complaint and authorize its staff to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, the announcement stated. The Commission will file a complaint in the US District Court for the Western District of Tennessee to stop the proposed deal.

“Competition between hospitals helps keep prices down and quality high, and that’s as true in Memphis as it is elsewhere,”  Daniel Francis, deputy director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement. “It’s clear that patients in the Memphis area have benefitted from the competitive pressure that Saint Francis brings to bear on Methodist, through lower rates, more options for insurers and patients, and quality improvements. This transaction would take that competition away, and patients will pay the price.”

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