Vista Health, Waukegan, Ill., said it has been told by the Federal Trade Commission that the FTC's bureau of economics and competition will recommend not taking action against the 3-year-old joint operating company. Vista Health was formed in 2000 to consolidate two Waukegan hospitals -- 254-bed Provena Saint Therese Medical Center, owned by Provena Health, and 102-bed Victory Memorial Hospital, owned by Victory Health Services. The joint operating agreement came under review as part of a broader FTC "lookback" at whether previously completed hospital mergers were meeting promises to cut costs and improve care. Vista Health spokeswoman Linda Lampinen said that while the FTC commissioners could overrule the bureau when they vote on the matter in August, "our understanding is that (action) is unlikely." Of the review, Lampinen said, "It has been an intensive process and has not been easy." FTC spokeswoman Cathy MacFarlane said the commissioners rarely overrule bureau recommendations. To date, the agency has not challenged any merger evaluated under its lookback program. In February 2002 Provena announced its intent to deed Provena Saint Therese to Vista Health, leaving Victory as the venture's sole owner. -- by Mark Taylor
Vista Health says FTC won't pursue action
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