A federal appeals court blocked Hackensack Meridian Health's proposed acquisition of Englewood Health, bolstering the Federal Trade Commission's opposition.
A four-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld New Jersey federal judge John Vazquez' ruling that allowed federal regulators to block the proposed transaction between the not-for-profit New Jersey health system and hospital. It's unclear whether Hackensack will appeal the decision.
The transaction would have consolidated direct competitors by joining three of the six acute-care hospitals in Bergen County, the FTC said in its complaint.
Their combined market share would have boosted Hackensack's bargaining leverage with insurers, likely leading to higher prices for care, which would mean higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs, regulators said. Combining Englewood's 531-bed Englewood Hospital with Hackensack University Medical Center and Pascack Valley Medical Center—three facilities located with 10 miles of each other—would've also reduced incentives to improve quality, the FTC said.