FTC Files Appeal With Supreme Court Over Palmyra, Phoebe Putney Merger

Attorneys for the Federal Trade Commission have filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the acquisition of Palmyra Medical Center in Albany, Ga., by the Albany-Dougherty Hospital Authority, which owns Palmyra's only competitor, Phoebe Putney Health System, also in Albany.

According to the FTC, the $198 million acquisition illegally consolidates the market for acute-care hospital services in a six-county area and raises a strong risk of higher healthcare prices.

The FTC has waged a long court battle to stop the acquisition, losing at the federal district and appeals court levels in 2011. In late February, the FTC requested an extension on the deadline to submit this request to the Supreme Court. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-transactions-and-valuation/ftc-requests-supreme-court-review-of-georgia-hospital-sale.html

The FTC is challenging the acquisition because they believe the transaction is private, since the Albany-Dougherty authority took no steps to negotiate the purchase of Palmyra from its former owner, for-profit Hospital Corporation of America, based in Nashville, Tenn. Instead, executives with Phoebe Putney negotiated with HCA and then presented the deal and all its terms to the authority for approval, according to court records.

The "state action doctrine" is also at the heart of the case. The legal principle says states and their political subdivisions may take anti-competitive actions in cases that would be illegal if private companies tried the same thing.

Attorneys for the Georgia hospital authority believe they have the right to consolidate Palmyra and Phoebe Putney due to its public ownership, which exempts the transaction from federal antitrust laws.

More Articles on Phoebe Putney, Palmyra Acquisition:

FTC Requests Supreme Court Review of Georgia Hospital Sale
HCA Sells Palmyra to Phoebe Putney for $198M
Court Rules Against FTC, Says Phoebe Putney Can Acquire Palmyra

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