Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Geisinger Health System Foundation et al., No. 1:13-cv-02647 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 25, 2013)
State challenged merger of two hospitals that would have reduced competition in two Pennsylvania counties. Hospitals agreed to settlement.
State and FTC sought preliminary injunction in connection with an already consummated acquisition by Promedica of St. Luke’s hospital. The complaint alleged that ProMedica’s acquisition of St. Luke’s eliminated significant price and non-price competition between the two firms in both the general acute-care and inpatient obstetrical markets in Lucas County. According to the complaint, the acquisition also vests ProMedica with the ability to demand higher rates for services performed at its other hospitals as well, because the addition of St. Luke’s to the ProMedica hospital system has made ProMedica a “must-have” system for health plans seeking to do business in Lucas County, as plans can no longer offer consumers a viable provider network without including ProMedica’s hospitals. The preliminary injunction was granted, and the FTC proceeded with an administrative proceeding.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Geisinger Health System Foundation et al., No. 4:CV-12-1081 (M.D. Pa.
State alleged that the the acquisition of Bloomsburg Hospital by Geisinger Heath System Foundation may substantially lessen or eliminate competition in the region. Geisinger is a non-profit parent of four hospitals, including its flagship Geisinger Medical Center which is located only 10 miles from Bloomsburg Hospital. It also owns the Geisinger Clinic, a multi-specialty physician group practice with more than 900 primary care and specialty physicians and the Geisinger Heath Plan. Geisinger is one of the largest providers of inpatient acute-care hospital services in northeastern Pennsylvania. The state was concerned that Geisinger would be able to raise prices for hospital and physician services to Columbia County residents and their health plans. The parties reached a settlement under which Geisinger agreed to continue to operate Bloomsburg Hospital as an acute care hospital for eight years, six years longer than the term agreed to by the parties. The agreement also requires that all physicans with privileges at Bloomsburg Hospital will keep their privileges. The original merger agreement with the Bloomsburg Board only protected certain physicians. Geisinger also agreed to negotiate and contract with health plans for Bloomsburg Hospital separately from Geisinger Medical Center. Bloomsburg Hospital historically had lower rates than Geisinger Medical Center. By contracting separately, Bloomsburg’s rates will be comparable to other community hospitals, not a large tertiary hospital like Geisinger.
State challenged merger on the grounds that it could lessen competition for primary or secondary acute care hospital services sold to Medicare plans and primary and non-tertiary physician services in Northumberland County, PA.
USDOJ and Montana sued to prevent agreement between BCBS of Montana and New West, two of three competitors in the Montana health insurance market. Five of the six hospital owners of New West had agreed to purchase health insurance from Blue Cross exclusively for six years. once the five hospital owners stopped purchasing health insurance from New West, they likely would have significantly reduced their support for New West and its efforts to win commercial health-insurance customers. These anticompetitive effects would have been exacerbated by a provision in the parties’ agreement that requires Blue Cross to give the hospital owners two seats on Blue Cross’ board of directors if the hospitals do not compete with Blue Cross in the sale of commercial health insurance. DOJ and Montana required that New West promptly divest its remaining commercial health-insurance business to an acquirer with the intent and capability to be an effective competitor. The hospital owners must enter three-year contracts with the acquirer to provide health-care services on terms that are substantially similar to their existing contractual terms with New West. At the acquirer’s option, New West and the five hospital owners must also use their best efforts to assign the health-care provider contracts that are not under their control to the acquirer or to lease New West’s provider network to the acquirer for up to three years. Under the proposed settlement, Blue Cross must notify the department and the state of Montana before it uses exclusive contracts with health-insurance brokers, or exclusive or most-favored-nation provisions in its agreements with health-care providers.
Federal Trade Commission and State of Georgia v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc.,No. 1:11-cv-00058-WLS (M.D. Ga. Apr. 20, 2011)
Georgia Attorney General’s Office filed a joint complaint with the FTC seeking to enjoin any transaction involving Phoebe Putney, the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County or Palmyra Park Hospital under which Phoebe Putney would acquire control of Palmyra Park Hospital’s operations, until the conclusion of the FTC’s administrative proceeding and any subsequent appeals.
The complaint alleges that the transaction as proposed would violate federal law by eliminating the vigorous competition that currently exists between Phoebe Putney and Palmyra Park Hospital in Albany and the surrounding six-county area. The complaint also alleges that Phoebe Putney has used the Hospital Authority to cloak private, anticompetitive activity in governmental guise in the hopes that it would exempt the acquisition from federal antitrust law. Court granted TRO, case filed under seal.
USDOJ and Texas reached a settlement with United Regional Health Care System of Wichita Falls, Texas, that prohibits it from entering into contracts that improperly inhibit commercial health insurers from contracting with United Regional’s competitors. Plaintiffs alleged that United Regional unlawfully used these contracts to maintain its monopoly for hospital services in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.
State of Nevada v. Universal Health Services, Inc., Alan B. Miller, and Psychiatric Solutions, Inc., No. 2:10-cv-01984 (D.Nev. 2010)
Sate and FTC reached settlement requiring divestitures of several acute-care inpatient psychiatric hospitals in the Las Vegas area.
The children’s hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Paul sought to merge. The state filed a complaint and eventuallyreached a settlement, the term of which was five years, under which the entity would not be able to merge with any health care provider or specialty physician practice without the approval of the Attorney General. The merged entity would not be able to manage pediatric practices at other area hospitals. The merged entity was also prohibited from ent4ering into exclusive agreements with any group purchaser. The merged entity also could not, for two years, enter into any exclusive contract with physician specialty groups that would prevent them from providing services at other hospitals.
Texas v. Memorial Hermann Healthcare Systems, Inc., No. 2009-04609, 281st Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas
State alleged that Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, the largest operator of hospitals in Houston, Texas, had driven a rival hospital out of business by coercing insurance plans to refuse to deal with the rival hospital. Parties reached a settlement under which Memorial Hermann would be bound for five years not to conspire or act in any way to further this type of boycott.