The Federal Trade Commission has asked for more information on a proposed joint venture between Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. and Health-One, a Denver-based system.
Meanwhile, HCFA began an investigation of psychiatric care at the Health-One flagship, 558-bed Presbyterian-Hospital companies
St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver, in response to an anonymous letter.
An FTC request for additional information often signals a high-level antitrust probe. Many observers had expected the FTC to delay the deal for longer than the 30-day waiting period required under law because of its size and complexity.
The new company, owned equally by Columbia and HealthOne, would control about one-third of the Denver market. Its assets, valued at about $900 million, would include six acute-care hospitals and four specialty hospitals.
Columbia and HealthOne expected to name a board to oversee the joint venture last week, but at deadline they hadn't done so.
The letter to HCFA accused HealthOne employees of sexual misconduct with patients at Presbyterian-St. Luke's and attacked their competency, according to the Associated Press. The hospital already drew HCFA scrutiny for a series of unusual deaths and accidents. Last month, it was given 60 days to implement a plan of correction or lose its accreditation for Medicare and Medicaid (July 31, p. 8).