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Court rejects FTC bid to block 17-hospital merger in Pennsylvania

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A Pennsylvania federal court on Dec. 8 rejected the Federal Trade Commission's challenge to a merger between Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health and Einstein Healthcare Network. 

The FTC and the Pennsylvania attorney general's office sued in February to block the $599 million merger. They argued the combination of the two systems, which comprise 17 hospitals, would reduce competition in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties and lead to price increases. 

The court rejected that argument and held that the government did not meet its burden. The FTC's case relied on testimony from health insurers, which the court said was "not credible" and "undercut by other evidence," Judge Gerald Pappert of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania wrote in the 62-page decision. 

The FTC could appeal the court's denial of its preliminary injunction request. 

"We are pleased that Judge Pappert has ruled in our favor, paving the way for us to become one health system," Jefferson said in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review. "Our merger will bring together two historically linked academic medical centers and high-performing healthcare organizations, whose shared vision is to improve the lives of our patients and the health of our communities while providing top-notch health education and research. We now await the decision of FTC and the Pennsylvania Attorney General as to whether they will appeal."

More article on healthcare industry transactions:
UNC Health closes deal for 12th hospital
Sanford, Intermountain halt merger talks
Steward acquires 3 hospitals in Colombia

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