The Federal Trade Commission has announced a consent order settling what it called a naked agreement to eliminate competition involving American Renal Associates and Fresenius Medical Care in Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts.
The FTCs complaint stemmed from a 2005 purchase agreement among the companies in which ARA was to pay $1.6 million for Fresenius to close three clinics and another $2.8 million to take possession of the remaining five Fresenius clinics in Rhode Island.
In the consent orderwhich does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by ARA or Freseniusthe companies would be prohibited from making agreements with other clinic operators that divvy up territory or customers. ARA would be required to notify the FTC of any planned acquisitions in the area of Warwick, R.I., and Cranston, Mass.
The commission will vote whether to make the order final after a 30-day window for public comment, which closes Oct. 9.
Joseph Carlucci, chief executive officer of ARA, said in a written statement that the terms outlined in the consent agreement are entirely consistent with standard ARA business philosophy. Fresenius did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (See Kidney Failure? for more on renal-care providers fighting for automatic inflation updates from Medicare. Registration required.) -- by Gregg Blesch
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