Statement of FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez on the U.S. District Court in the District of Idaho Ruling in the Matter of the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Idaho v. St. Luke’s Health System Ltd. and Saltzer Medical Group, P.A.

For Release

Following the favorable court decision issued today, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said:

“The district court’s ruling is an important victory that will benefit both competition and consumers in Nampa, Idaho, and the surrounding areas.  The combination of St. Luke’s and Saltzer would have given the merged hospital system the market power to demand higher rates for health care services, ultimately leading to higher costs for both employers and consumers.  Keeping health care costs low and quality high by ensuring vigorous competition between providers is, and will continue to be, a top Commission priority.”

On March 12, 2013, the FTC filed a joint complaint with the Idaho Attorney General challenging St. Luke’s Health System’s acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group. The complaint alleged that the merger between Idaho’s largest health system and the state’s largest independent, multi-specialty physician practice would be anticompetitive, creating a dominant single provider of adult primary care physicians in the Nampa, Idaho area, with almost a 60 percent market share.

The federal district court held that the acquisition violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act and the Idaho Competition Act, and ordered St. Luke’s to fully divest itself of Saltzer’s physicians and assets.

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