by Dave Muoio | Aug 31, 2021
Hackensack Meridian Health and Englewood Health have appealed a U.S. district court decision that granted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a preliminary injunction halting their proposed merger.
The deal, first announced in late 2019, would place three of Bergen County, New Jersey’s six inpatient general acute care hospitals under the control of the state’s largest healthcare system.
The FTC filed an administrative complaint challenging the merger in December 2020. In it, the regulator argued that the proposed deal would eliminate competition in New Jersey’s most populous county and allow Hackensack Meridian Health to demand higher rates from payers.
“This acquisition would give the combined hospital system increased bargaining leverage, likely leading to increased prices,” Ian Conner, then-director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said at the time. “The transaction would also remove the competitive pressures that have driven these hospitals to invest in quality improvements to the benefit of patients.”
The court granted the FTC its preliminary injunction on August 4. The hospitals’ appeal was filed on August 26, according to court documents.