A PYMNTS Company

Idaho Attorney General Orders Split of Kootenai Health and Syringa Hospital

 |  May 19, 2024

Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador announced a consent decree on Thursday mandating the separation of Kootenai Health and Syringa Hospital and Clinics. This action is part of a broader antitrust push aimed at curbing the rising trend of hospital system consolidation, which has been prevalent across the nation for decades.

The roots of this decree trace back to several acquisitions and agreements made by Kootenai Health in recent years. In 2020, Kootenai Health expanded its reach by purchasing Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino and St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood. Prior to these acquisitions, Kootenai Health entered into a management agreement with Syringa Hospital in Grangeville in 2017. This agreement notably made Syringa’s CEO an employee of Kootenai Health.

The Attorney General’s office highlighted the antitrust concerns arising from this arrangement, noting that Kootenai Health gained access to Syringa’s significant competitively sensitive non-public information through the management agreement. Such access raised substantial antitrust issues, prompting the intervention.

The newly issued consent decree explicitly requires Kootenai Health to terminate all existing contracts with Syringa Hospital. Any future agreements between the two entities will necessitate prior approval from the Attorney General, ensuring stricter oversight.

However, the decree does not address Kootenai Health’s ownership of St. Mary’s Hospital and Clearwater Valley Hospital. In response to inquiries, NonStop Local reached out to the Idaho Attorney General’s Office to verify whether Kootenai Health retains ownership of these hospitals following the consent decree. As of now, the status of these ownerships remains unconfirmed.

Source: KHQ