FTC v. Penn State Hershey Medical Center: Third Circuit Appeal Could Lead to Important Decision for Future Hospital Mergers

By Pete Levitas & Bryan M. Marra –

On May 9, 2016, District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied a joint motion by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the FTC seeking a preliminary injunction to enjoin the proposed merger of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System. Judge Jones rejected the request for an injunction based on his holding that the government had failed to define a proper geographic market. The resulting decision could offer clarification regarding the appropriate method to determine the relevant geographic market. A loss might force the FTC to rethink its approach to hospital merger enforcement.