Here is a very interesting scenario. The Federal Trade Commission and Idaho’s attorney general have challenged the acquisition of a physician group by a Boise, Idaho-based hospital system. It seems the merger between St. Luke’s Health System and Saltzer Medical Group gave the combined entity an approximately 60% share of the primary-care physicians in Nampa, Idaho, the state’s second-largest city. The lawyers for St. Luke’s stated, “We have no intention of using this relationship to increase prices for patients”. Hmmmm. Not sure if I believe them as many hospitals enable allow the physician to bill differently when they are under their umbrella. Remember this article I blogged about called Facility Greed? The WSJ article also went on to say that:
State and federal antitrust regulators have been signaling growing scrutiny of the accelerating pace of mergers among doctors and hospitals around the country. The FTC and attorneys general in several states have launched investigations and filed suits over deals that they say could limit competition and boost costs.
Trust me, you are going to see a lot more antitrust lawsuits coming very soon.