By Dave Muoio – Jun 17, 2022
The Federal Trade Commission is two-for-two this month on hospital merger challenges, announcing Thursday that HCA Healthcare and Steward Health Care System have decided to abandon a proposed five-hospital transaction contested by the regulator earlier this month.
The news comes just days after New Jersey’s RWJBarnabas Health and Saint Peter’s Healthcare System threw in the towel on plans to merge. The FTC had announced plans to block both “anti-competitive” hospital deals on June 2.
“For the second time in a week, parties who proposed an anti-competitive hospital merger have called their deal off after the FTC filed a complaint to block the deal,” FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova said in a statement. “This transaction, like the RWJBarnabas Health/Saint Peter’s transaction that was abandoned two days ago, should never have been proposed in the first place.”
HCA and Steward’s deal, announced in September 2021, would have added five Utah hospitals to the former’s 11-hospital Mountain Division.
Had it gone through, the sale would have combined the second- and fourth-largest systems in the Salt Lake City and Utah’s Wasatch Front region, “resulting in higher prices, less innovation and lower quality care for patients,” Vedova said. Approximately 80% of Utah’s residents live in the markets that would have been impacted by the sale.