In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission prevailed in litigation before the Third and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeal related to two high-profile hospital mergers. In both cases, the courts of appeal overturned the federal district courts’ decisions denying preliminary injunctions to stop the mergers. In another matter, the FTC dropped its complaint after the State of West Virginia enacted a statute that immunized certain hospital mergers from antitrust laws, and its hospital authority approved the hospital merger under the statute.
The decisions by the Third and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeal and the FTC’s abandonment of the FTC’s challenge of the West Virginia merger provide guidance for healthcare providers about how courts and the enforcement agencies analyze mergers between hospitals under the antitrust laws.
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