A joint operating agreement between Victory Health Services, Waukegan, Ill., and Provena Health, Frankfort, Ill., is under federal antitrust review, according to a report by Moody's Investors Service. The ratings agency cited the investigation of two-hospital Vista Health as one factor in its decision to place Victory on a watch list for possible downgrade. Provena announced early last year its intent to sell its stake in Vista Health, which operates Waukegan's only hospitals. The sale would leave Victory as the venture's sole owner. The Federal Trade Commission announced last fall that it was examining several consummated hospital mergers. Vista Health spokeswoman Jennifer Yonan said Provena's withdrawal is still being negotiated and has been delayed in part by the federal probe. Yonan said Vista Health expects to "at least (know) where we stand" by May. "We're confident that the FTC will agree that the transaction has already yielded several efficiencies and promises even more," she said. Formed in 1999, Vista Health expects to post a loss of at least $10 million on revenue of $160 million for 2002, she said. -- by Mary Chris Jaklevic
Ill. hospitals' joint venture under FTC review
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