Federal Trade Commission officials meet today with staff from the House and Senate judiciary committees to discuss the agency's yearlong retrospective review of hospital mergers, sources told Modern Healthcare. One healthcare attorney close to the review said the FTC has sent letters to the hospitals involved informing them that Senate staff has subpoenaed records from the investigation. FTC officials and committee staff did not return telephone calls seeking comment. FTC Chairman Timothy Muris last year announced that the agency would look back at an unspecified number of hospital mergers to evaluate the market effects of the deals and determine if any were anticompetitive. Muris said he expected that the agency could challenge one or more of the mergers and would have results of the study available by the end of 2003. Hospital defense attorneys, however, have said the FTC underestimated the scope of the project. Former FTC attorney David Balto, now in private practice in Washington, said the briefing before judiciary committee staff is routine. Balto said FTC staff members have worked hard on the study but are proceeding cautiously. -- by Mark Taylor
FTC to update lawmakers on merger review
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