St. Luke's Health System in Boise, Idaho, may continue to operate Nampa, Idaho-based physician practice Saltzer Medical Group, despite a January judicial order to divest, a federal judge ruled recently.
St. Luke's filed an appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in June after U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered that it unwind its acquisition of Saltzer. After granting a stay of the divestiture order last week, the 9th Circuit also said it would hear St. Luke's appeal on the earliest available court date.
According to the original case's plaintiffs—St. Luke's Boise competitors, St. Alphonsus Health System and Treasure Valley Hospital, the Federal Trade Commission and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden—the St. Luke's-Saltzer deal violated antitrust restrictions.
The plaintiffs argued that the acquisition of Saltzer would give St. Luke's control of nearly 80% of the Nampa primary-care market, thereby giving it greater leverage with health plans, which in turn would drive up healthcare prices in the area just west of Boise. Winmill agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered that St. Luke's give up Saltzer. —Rachel LandenFollow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden