FTC sues to block Utah healthcare merger

The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday that it has filed a lawsuit to prevent HCA Healthcare, which operates MountainStar Healthcare in Utah, from acquiring five Steward Health Care hospitals in the state. (Kristen Murphy, Desert News)

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Salt Lake City – Federal Trade Commission announced on Thursday They are filing a lawsuit and administrative complaint against the Utah health care merger.

HCA Healthcare, better known as MountainStar Healthcare in Utah, It announced it had acquired five Utah Steward Healthcare System hospitals in September. However, the Federal Trade Commission is trying to stop the merger, which it says will eliminate competition in the Wasatch Front region.

The FTC said, “As the second and fourth largest healthcare systems in the Wasatch Front, Utah, which surrounds Salt Lake City, HCA Healthcare and Steward Healthcare help keep costs low for consumers by competing aggressively with each other. some.” Competition Bureau Director Holly Fedova in a statement.

Vidova said competition between the two companies leads to lower prices and innovative services that will be lost after the merger. The FTC statement said that HCA Healthcare and Steward Healthcare are competing for the inclusion of the insurance company’s network, healthcare quality, nurses and doctors.

Steward Health Care is currently a low-cost competitor to general inpatient acute care hospital services, and the merger could change that. The Federal Trade Commission said the merger will enable HCA to raise its rates and some of that cost will be passed on to employers and members of health plans through increased premiums, deductions and expenses.

According to the statement, the Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously to authorize the pursuit of a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction that would halt the merger until the lawsuit is resolved. The administrative trial is scheduled to begin on December 13.

A public version of the lawsuit is not yet available.

When announcing the acquisition agreement, HCA Healthcare said the added facilities would help them meet Utah’s growing healthcare needs.

CEO Sam Hazen said: “We believe the addition of these facilities will help us improve patient healthcare network options and enable investment in services to meet the growing demand for healthcare. We look forward to welcoming them to the HCA Healthcare family.”

Hospitals owned by Steward Healthcare in the state include Davis Hospital in Leighton, Jordan Valley Medical Center in West Jordan, Jordan Valley Medical Center – West Valley Campus, Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi, and Salt Lake Regional Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

HCA Healthcare’s MountainStar Hospitals in Utah include Brigham City Community Hospital, Cache Valley Hospital in North Logan, Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful, Lone Peak Hospital in Draper, Mountain View-Payson Hospital, Ogden Regional Medical Center, St. Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem.

Another Utah healthcare system completed its merger in April, with its headquarters in Utah Intermountain Healthcare Joins SCL Health’s Colorado Hospital System, making Intermountain the 11th largest nonprofit healthcare system in the United States. Intermountain officials said the combined companies employ more than 59,000 people, operate 33 hospitals and 385 clinics in seven states, and serve 1 million people in Utah and Idaho.

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Emily Ashcraft joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. She covers court and legal affairs, as well as health, faith and religion news.

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