FTC sues to block two ‘anticompetitive’ hospital mergers in Utah and New Jersey
By Dave Muoio – June 3, 2022
The Federal Trade Commission is pumping the brakes on a pair of health system merger and acquisition deals in Utah and New Jersey, according to Thursday press releases from the agency.
The first is HCA Healthcare’s proposed purchase of five hospitals from Steward Health Care.
Announced in September 2021, the deal would increase HCA’s Utah presence to seven hospitals and bolster its Mountain Division, which covers Utah, Idaho and Alaska, to 16 hospitals.
The second dates back to a late 2020 integration agreement between New Jersey’s RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System.
That arrangement aimed to create what the systems described as “New Jersey’s first multi-campus premier academic medical center,” which would help attract academic talent and research to nearby Rutgers University.
It had picked up the authorization of state regulators just a few weeks ago with a Superior Court judge saying the deal would “serve in the public interest and the public good.”
Federal regulators disagreed, saying in Thursday releases that both deals were anticompetitive and would increase prices and reduce quality of care for patients.