AHA asks appeals court to reject FTC's proposed test for evaluating hospital mergers

The American Hospital Association filed a friend-of-the court brief Monday, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to reject the Federal Trade Commission's proposed test for evaluating hospital mergers.

The AHA filed its brief in FTC, et. al. v. Advocate Health Care, et. al., a case in which the FTC is attempting to block the proposed merger of Downers Grove, Ill.-based Advocate Health Care and Evanston, Ill.-based NorthShore University HealthSystem.

In its brief, the AHA argued that the FTC's proposed test is too narrow. "The government's proposal would sharply limit the types of relevant evidence that district courts may consider in defining geographic markets, requiring them to ignore commercial realities," wrote the AHA. 

The AHA said the government's proposed test makes no sense because it doesn't account for how the shift to outpatient care has changed the nature of geographic market analysis for inpatient hospital services.

The AHA's views mirror those of Advocate and NorthShore. Earlier this year, NorthShore President and CEO Mark Neaman told Becker's that "the FTC's assumptions regarding the Chicago market are based on an antiquated product model — inpatient admissions and a completely gerrymandered area."

More articles on antitrust issues:

Appeals court revives antitrust suit against Sutter Health
Judge approves $12.5M settlement in UPMC antitrust case
DOJ files suit against 2 payer megamergers: 5 things to know


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