The Federal Trade Commission filed its first antitrust challenge to a hospital merger in six years, alleging that three-hospital Evanston (Ill.) Northwestern Healthcare violated federal antitrust laws through its 2000 acquisition of Highland Park Hospital. The FTC is seeking an order requiring Evanston Northwestern to divest Highland Park, returning it to an independent competitor. In a $200 million deal, Highland Park merged with Evanston Northwestern's Glenbrook Hospital and Evanston Hospital. Both organizations' physician groups also merged. In its 12-page administrative complaint, the FTC asked for an order requiring Evanston Northwestern to refrain from setting prices for physicians not employed by the faculty practice. The FTC is seeking a May 10 hearing before an administrative law judge. Evanston Northwestern officials could not be reached for comment at deadline. -- by Mark Taylor
FTC challenges 4-year-old Chicago-area hospital merger
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