FTC Requests Extension to Finalize Phoebe Putney Antitrust Settlement

The Federal Trade Commission has requested 60 additional days to decide whether to finalize its 2013 antitrust settlement with Albany, Ga.-based Phoebe Putney Health System, according to a Georgia Public Broadcasting report.

The FTC's deadline to come to this decision was Monday, but the commission requested an extension in a filing in U.S. district court.

The FTC wants to extend the deadline to June 13, or if it comes earlier, 30 days after a state agency determines whether the potential divestiture of Phoebe Putney's Palmyra Medical Center in Albany would require regulatory approval.

Palmyra Medical Center is the hospital that was in question when the FTC challenged Phoebe Putney's acquisition three years ago.

Last summer, the FTC and Phoebe Putney reached an agreement that would let Phoebe Putney retain the hospital due to Georgia's certificate of need laws. But in March, the FTC asked the Georgia Department of Community Health about a possible divestiture and whether it would require approval under the state's CON law.

In a letter to the agency, the FTC said gave preliminary agreement to the non-divestiture settlement because it believed Georgia's CON laws would prevent the decoupling of the merged Albany hospitals, even if the FTC won the suit. But the letter said a potential buyer for the former Palmyra had since come forward, according to the report.

In its federal court filing Monday, the FTC said it had consulted with attorneys for Phoebe Putney, noting that they "do not oppose this motion" for a delay in deciding on the settlement, according to the report.

More Articles on the FTC and Phoebe Putney:
After FTC Victory, What is Phoebe Putney Planning for 2014?
"Disappointed" Phoebe Putney Closely Examining Supreme Court Decision
Supreme Court Sides with FTC in Phoebe Putney Case


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