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US: FTC says no to Advocate-NorthShore merger

 |  December 20, 2015

The Federal Trade Commission today moved to block a pending merger of two big Illinois hospital systems on antitrust grounds, contending the megadeal between Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem would control more than half of general acute care inpatient hospital services on the North Shore.

“The result would likely be significant harm to consumers—with rising health care costs and diminished incentives to upgrade services and improve quality,” the FTC said.

The hospitals nevertheless intend to finalize the deal, which was initially expected to close this year.

Advocate and NorthShore said they would oppose the FTC’s petition for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to halt the merger, pending an administrative proceeding.

The FTC said it expects the administrative trial to begin here in federal court on May 24 after commissioners voted 4-0 to authorize staff to seek the TRO. The hospitals expect the proceeding to take three to six months.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to come together for the betterment of the patients and communities we serve,” Mark Neaman, NorthShore president and CEO, said in a statement. “We believe that by bringing together our two organizations, we will lower costs, enhance care and expand access while driving innovation.”

Full content: Chicago Tribune

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