The Federal Trade Commission has given its antitrust blessing to a proposed mergerlike partnership between Baptist Hospital and Saint Thomas Health Services, two of Nashville's largest not-for-profit systems.
Details of the transaction, including the expected closing date, were not available by deadline.
A Saint Thomas spokesman said the providers are performing due diligence and still need clearance from the state attorney general to proceed with the deal.
They requested federal antitrust clearance in December. Neither party, however, publicized the filing or the clearance. The transaction appeared on a regular list released by the FTC that identifies deals given an early green light. According to the list, which was released Jan. 27, the agency OK'd the deal Jan. 20.
Last July Baptist and Saint Thomas announced their plans to consolidate operations in a partnership serving central Tennessee and southern Kentucky. The deal originally was projected for completion three to six months after the announcement.
The new system is expected to include 649-bed Baptist Hospital and 514-bed Saint Thomas Hospital. That would give it control of about 30% of the staffed beds in Nashville, according to the latest available data from the American Hospital Association.
Saint Thomas and its local parent corporation are owned by Daughters of Charity National Health System, St. Louis.
The Saint Thomas spokesman said the deal is envisioned as a 50-50 partnership and that no changes are planned to terms previously released.
According to their July announcement, Baptist and Saint Thomas are expected to maintain separate ownership and historic assets but will create a joint board to run the systems as a merged organization (July 7, 1997, p. 15).
Saint Thomas tried to do a similar partnership with 609-bed Vanderbilt University Hospital. But the proposal was dropped in June 1996 after months of talks because the hospitals realized their interests couldn't be aligned at the time.