A consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh would permit 172-bed Altoona (Pa.) Hospital to merge with 167-bed Bon Secours-Holy Family Regional Health System, the only other general acute-care hospital in Altoona. The consent decree, subject to federal court approval, would prohibit the system from discriminating against patients who go elsewhere for outpatient services. It also would require the system to accept applications for privileges from doctors in most specialties and to give the state attorney general's office 30 days notice before hiring additional physicians. The hospitals will reimburse the state $50,000 for investigating the deal. They expect to save $32 million over five years through the merger and plan to begin operating jointly Nov. 1. -- by Mark Taylor
Consent decree to let Pa. hospitals merge
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