More than two months after requesting additional information on HealthTrust-The Hospital Co.'s purchase of Holy Cross Health Services of Utah, the Federal Trade Commission has yet to approve the deal.
Last October, HealthTrust signed a letter of intent to buy Salt Lake City-based HCHSU from its parent, South Bend, Ind.-based Holy Cross Health System Corp., for an undisclosed amount (Oct. 11, 1993, p. 20). HCHSU operates three hospitals in northern Utah's Wasatch Front, a 1,050-square-mile urban market with 23 acute-care hospitals and 1.2 million residents, roughly 82% of the state's population.
The hospitals involved in the deal are 200-bed Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, 39-bed Holy Cross Jordan Valley Hospital in West Jordan and 239-bed St. Benedict's Hospital in Ogden.
HealthTrust and Holy Cross filed pre-merger notification documents with the FTC on Nov. 10, said Holy Cross spokeswoman Amy Smessaert. The agency contacted both institutions one month later seeking additional information on the acquisition, she said.
A second request typically signals an intense review of a proposed business deal for possible anti-competitive effects.
"We're currently complying with the (FTC's request), and we're hopeful we'll have a successful outcome," she said.
A HealthTrust spokeswoman also confirmed the FTC's request and said both corporations are still in the process of gathering additional information.
Both HealthTrust and Holy Cross officials were confident the deal would be completed. However, they couldn't predict when that will occur.
An FTC spokeswoman declined comment.
If completed, Nashville, Tenn.-based HealthTrust would own seven of the region's acute-care hospitals, or about 30% of the Wasatch Front hospital market.