In a closely watched case, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered Boise, Idaho-based St. Luke's Health System to unwind its acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group.
The case marks the first time the federal courts have decided a Federal Trade Commission case against a physician practice deal, and it comes as healthcare systems across the U.S. are rapidly scooping up medical groups to create integrated delivery networks capable of managing population health.
St. Luke's said in a statement that it is “extremely disappointed by the ruling” and that it plans to appeal. “The court's decision calls into question whether accountable care can be an option for the people of Idaho, and specifically those who live in towns like Nampa and Caldwell,” Dr. David Pate, the system's president and CEO, wrote on his blog.
St. Luke's Boise-based competitors St. Alphonsus Health System and Treasure Valley Hospital filed suit in 2012 to block the deal, arguing that it would give St. Luke's too much power with payers.