- The Federal Trade Commission wasted no time in appealing a federal judge’s order denying its request to prohibit the merger of Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University Health System, Becker’s Hospital Review reported.
- On Tuesday, U.S. Northern District Court Judge Jorge Alonso ruled the government failed to prove the merger would harm competition in the Chicago area. The following day, the FTC filed a notice of appeal in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Combined, the new health system would have 16 hospitals with over 4,000 beds and 45,000 employees serving 3 million patients a year.
Downers Grove-based Advocate and Evanston-based NorthShore announced plans to merge in 2014. After a lengthy review, the FTC rejected the merger and filed in court for a preliminary injunction to block the deal, citing antitrust concerns.
Both sides presented testimony in April, with the hospitals arguing that the merger would not weaken payers’ bargaining leverage or raise premiums for patients.
In allowing the merger to go forward, Judge Alonso said the FTC had not convincingly shown that its antitrust claims against the health systems would prevail.
If Advocate-NorthShore prevails, it could embolden other health systems to move ahead with merger plans. “Perhaps its was just going out for coffee, and now they may think more seriously about dating or getting engaged,” Chicago healthcare consultant Elyse Forkosh Cutler was quoted in Crain’s.
The FTC declined to comment on its appeal.