Vista Health, Waukegan, Ill., created from a merger that in 2002 was investigated by the Federal Trade Commission but not challenged, said it would seek state permission to close one of the two hospitals involved. The state certificate-of-need board must OK any closure of 95-bed Provena St. Therese Medical Center and consolidation of services with 142-bed Victory Memorial Hospital. The hospitals, the only two in Waukegan, merged in 2000. Separately, Vista is seeking approval from Illinois to build a $120 million hospital northwest of Chicago. The FTC investigated Vista as part of a review of several completed hospital mergers to see if any had led to higher prices or reduced competition or if any of the systems had broken promises to their communities about the mergers. Provena St. Therese lost $22.7 million on operations in 2003, while Victory Memorial lost $6.9 million. In a news release, Vista board Chairman Gerald Pearson said, "With today's economic environment, if we can't close one hospital, neither will survive." -- by Mark Taylor
System hopes to close one of two founding hospitals
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