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Tennessee AG joins effort to block $350M hospital deal

The Tennessee attorney general's office has joined the Federal Trade Commission's complaint seeking to block Memphis, Tenn.-based Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare's $350 million acquisition of two hospitals from Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. 

"After carefully considering the proposed acquisition of two Memphis hospitals, known as St. Francis, by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, I have decided that the Tennessee Attorney General's Office will join the Federal Trade Commission in challenging the proposed transaction," Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said in a Nov. 16 statement

The attorney general said the deal would result in higher prices and fewer options for healthcare. If the transaction closed, Methodist Le Bonheur would control about 60 percent of the inpatient general acute care market in Memphis, Mr. Slatery said. 

The FTC complaint, filed Nov. 12, seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the transaction pending an administrative trial, which is slated to begin May 18. 

Regarding the FTC complaint, Sally Hurt-Deitch, CEO of Saint Francis Healthcare, and Michael Ugwueke, president and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur, shared the following joint statement with Becker's: 

"Our joint commitment has always been to improve healthcare delivery for the residents of Memphis, Bartlett and the surrounding communities, including enhancing access to care, cutting-edge medical technology and the highest quality physicians and staff. Our two organizations promote a culture of compassion backed by strong core values, which together, we believe will have an even greater impact on care delivered in these communities. 

"We are reviewing this recent action by the FTC and actively considering next steps. We are surprised by the FTC action given the strong support for the transaction by local stakeholders, including leading local health plans, physicians, employers and community leaders, and the evidence that the transaction will lead to lower prices, improved quality and enhanced access to care for Memphis-area patients."

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