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West Virginia Supreme Court to rule on Cabell Huntington, St. Mary's Medical Center merger Jan. 23

The West Virginia Supreme Court will rule on two arguments pertaining to the proposed merger of Huntington, W.Va.-based St. Mary's Medical Center and Cabell Huntington (W.Va.) Hospital Jan. 23, according to The Herald-Dispatch.

The two arguments stem from complaints submitted by Steel of West Virginia, a steel company that has voiced its opposition to the deal since it was announced in 2014. The company has said the proposed transaction would create a healthcare monopoly in the Huntington area and would likely result in higher prices and diminished quality of care for consumers — an argument the Federal Trade Commission also used to oppose the merger, though it later opted to suspend its challenge.

The first argument involves Steel of West Virginia's complaint regarding the West Virginia Health Care Authority's decision to grant Cabell Huntington and St. Mary's a certificate of need for the proposed merger. The steel company alleged the state healthcare authority violated the law by failing to consider a "superior alternative" to the proposed merger and failing to obtain information on other prospective bidders. A federal judge approved the healthcare authority's decision to grant the CON approval last April.

The second argument involves an appeal by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to an October 2016 trial court decision that ruled his office must turn over documentation relating to the merger requested by Steel of West Virginia, the report states.

The attorney general's office previously claimed the disclosure of the documents, which included letters from politicians and local business leaders supporting the proposed merger, was impertinent because Mr. Morrisey secured the documents during an antitrust investigation into the deal.

To read the full report, click here.

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