St. Luke's CEO Dr. David Pate Responds to FTC Antitrust Complaint

David Pate, MD, JD, president and CEO of Boise, Idaho-based St. Luke's Health System, said the Federal Trade Commission is using misconstrued data in its challenge of the system's acquisition of a physician practice, according to a Times-News report.

The FTC filed a complaint in mid-March, challenging St. Luke's acquisition of Nampa, Idaho-based Saltzer Medical Group. The complaint was under seal until late last week, allowing details of the complaint to come to light, including the FTC's allegation that St. Luke's market share for primary care providers will rocket from 18 percent to 57 percent with its acquisition of Saltzer.

The complaint also said St. Luke's "seeks to replicate its Magic Valley experience in Treasure Valley," alleging that St. Luke's Magic Valley rates are "among the most expensive in the entire state," according to the report.

St. Luke's has provided services in Magic Valley since 2001, when it began managing practices at the physician center of the former Magic Valley Regional Medical Center in Twin Falls, Idaho. Twin Falls County sold Magic Valley Regional Medical Center to St. Luke's in 2006.

Dr. Pate has responded to the FTC complaint, saying the FTC has used incomplete data to suggest St. Luke's "has taken advantage of the fact that it is a sole provider in the Magic Valley." Instead, he said residents could easily go to other regional hospitals, but "more people are choosing to remain in the Magic Valley to get care," according to the report.

As for the allegations about Magic Valley prices, Dr. Pate said he wonders if there is confusion about claims versus prices, as he would believe claims costs have risen.

Dr. Pate also said Nampa — home to Saltzer — is a "very different market" from Magic Valley and that St. Luke's could not be the only provider in that area.

More Articles on St. Luke's and the FTC:

FTC Sues St. Luke's Health in Idaho Over Physician Group Acquisition
Judge Lets St. Luke's Proceed With Medical Group Purchase Despite Antitrust Lawsuit
St. Alphonsus in Idaho Files Antitrust Suit Against St. Luke's Over Practice Acquisition

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