A U.S. appeals court in Georgia has ruled against the Federal Trade Commission in its attempt to stop Phoebe Putney Health System, Albany, Ga., from purchasing 120-bed Palmyra Park Hospital, Albany, from HCA for $195 million.
Court rules against FTC in Phoebe Putney case
The 11th Circuit Court's decision centered on the question of whether the legal buyer, the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County, could as a government entity make a deal it knows to be anti-competitive, and ruled it could, according to the appeals court decision. The hospital authority owns the Phoebe Putney hospital, though the hospital is operated through a lease by the not-for-profit Phoebe Putney Health System's 439-bed Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
“We're very pleased that the court ruled to allow us to go ahead with purchase,” said Jackie Ryan, Phoebe Putney's vice president of corporate strategy. Phoebe Putney faced capacity issues that would be most efficiently solved by the acquisition, Ryan said. They expect the deal to close in the next couple of weeks, she said.
The FTC has not officially dropped the matter yet. “We remain very concerned that it will raise healthcare costs dramatically in Albany, Ga.,” Richard Feinstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, said in a statement. “We are considering all our options.”
The FTC is busy elsewhere, receiving a favorable FTC administrative law judge decision on Monday in its opposition to ProMedica Health System's purchase of 198-bed St. Luke's Hospital, Maumee, Ohio, which is a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, where ProMedica is based.
In November, the FTC challenged an all-Rockford, Ill., deal in which OSF Healthcare System plans to acquire one of its two local hospital competitors, Rockford Health System, for undisclosed terms.
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