FTC Submits Brief for the Petitioner with U.S. Supreme Court in Phoebe Putney Hospital Merger Case

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The Federal Trade Commission has submitted its Brief for the Petitioner with the U.S. Supreme Court in Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc., a case in which the FTC challenged the proposed merger of Phoebe Putney Health System and Palmyra Park Hospital in Albany, Georgia.

The FTC filed a complaint in April 2011 to block the transaction, alleging that it will reduce competition significantly and allow the combined Phoebe/Palmyra to raise prices for general acute-care hospital services charged to commercial health plans, substantially harming patients and local employers and employees.

A key issue before the Court is the "state action" doctrine, under which federal antitrust laws do not apply to the anticompetitive conduct of certain public entities created by a state if the conduct is authorized as a part of a state policy to displace competition, and that policy is clearly articulated and affirmatively expressed in state law.

As part of its complaint, the FTC alleges that Phoebe structured the deal in a way that attempts to use the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County to shield the anticompetitive acquisition from federal antitrust scrutiny under the state action doctrine.

The Brief for the Petitioner can be found on the FTC's website and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. 111-0067, Docket No. 9348; the staff contact is Imad D. Abyad, Office of General Counsel, 202-326-2375).

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

(FYI 30.2012.wpd)

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