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FTC completes 30-day review, does not publicly contest MSHA-Wellmont merger

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The Federal Trade Commission finished its 30-day review of the proposed Kingsport, Tenn.-based Wellmont Health System and Johnson City, Tenn.-based Mountain States Health Alliance Nov. 29 and has yet to issue any indication it plans to contest the merger, the Johnson City Press reports.

Early in the process, health system leaders said they reached a deal with FTC officials: If the proposed merger was approved by health officials in Virginia and Tennessee, MSHA and Wellmont would wait to finalize the merger until after the FTC completed its 30-day review, according to the report.

A spokesperson for MSHA told the Johnson City Press the FTC has yet to take formal action against the merger. The spokesperson also said the FTC did not provide any feedback or recommendations about the proposed deal during its review.

"The investigation is still open, and we are aware that the state of Tennessee has yet to officially issue the [certificate of public advantage] certificate. That's about as much as we have to say right now," a spokesperson for the FTC told the Johnson City Press via email.

Should the FTC choose to block the merger, health system officials said the offices of the Virginia and Tennessee attorneys general would defend each state's approval of the merger, the report states.

However, if the FTC does not formally oppose the merger, leaders at both health systems expect the merger to close on or sometime before Jan. 31, 2018, the MSHA spokesperson told the Johnson City Press.

To read the full report, click here.

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