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St. Luke's Health System, Ltd, and Saltzer Medical Group, P.A.

The FTC, together with the Idaho Attorney General, filed a complaint in federal district court seeking to block St. Luke’s Health System, Ltd.’s acquisition of Idaho's largest independent, multi-specialty physician practice group, Saltzer Medical Group P.A. According to the joint complaint, the combination of St. Luke’s and Saltzer would give it the market power to demand higher rates for health care services provided by primary care physicians (PCPs) in Nampa, Idaho and surrounding areas, ultimately leading to higher costs for health care consumers.   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.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court ruling.

Type of Action
Federal
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
121 0069

Cooperativa de Médicos Oftalmólogos de Puerto Rico, In the Matter of

OFTACOOP, a Puerto Rico ophthalmologist cooperative, has agreed to settle FTC charges that its actions harmed competition.  The complaint charges that  OFTACOOP – also known as Cooperativa de Médico Oftalmólogos de Puerto Rico –  unlawfully orchestrated an agreement among competing ophthalmologists to refuse to deal with a health plan, MCS Advantage, Inc., and its network administrator, Eye Management of Puerto Rico, LLC.  OFTACOOP’s concerted refusal to deal forced MCS to abandon its plan to engage Eye Management to create a lower-cost network of ophthalmologists. MCS was also forced to maintain its then-current reimbursement rates paid to ophthalmologists. According to the complaint, OFTACOOP restrained competition without any justification, in violation of federal antitrust law.  The proposed consent order prohibits OFTACOOP from entering into or facilitating agreements between or among ophthalmologists (1) to refuse to deal, or threaten to refuse to deal, with any payor regarding any term, including price terms, or (2) not to deal individually with any payor, or not to deal with any payor other than through OFTACOOP. The order also prohibits information exchanges to facilitate any prohibited conduct, and it bars any attempts to engage in any prohibited conduct. OFTACOOP is also barred from encouraging, suggesting, advising, pressuring, inducing, or trying to induce anyone to engage in any prohibited conduct.

Type of Action
Administrative
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
141 0194

CentraCare Health System, In the Matter of

The FTC's order requires CentraCare Health, a healthcare provider in St. Cloud, Minnesota, to release some physicians from “non-compete” contract clauses, allowing them to join competing practices, under a settlement mitigating likely anticompetitive effects from CentraCare’s proposed merger with St. Cloud Medical Group (“SCMG”). CentraCare Health, a non-profit health system in central Minnesota, also includes a multi-specialty physician practice group. SCMG is a physician-owned, multi-specialty practice group that operates four clinics in and around St. Cloud. According to the FTC, CentraCare’s planned acquisition of SCMG would combine the two largest providers of adult primary care, pediatric, and OB/GYN services in the St. Cloud area. By eliminating SCMG as a potential alternative in the St. Cloud area, the acquisition would likely increase CentraCare’s bargaining power vis-à-vis commercial health plans, allowing it to raise reimbursement rates and secure more favorable terms, the complaint states. However, SCMG was failing financially, and a number of physicians had already left the practice. SCMG’s multi-year search did not identify an alternative purchaser to CentraCare for the entire group, but at least one local provider has expressed interest in expanding its practice by hiring some of SCMG’s physicians. The consent order permitted the acquisition to proceed, but lessened its potential anticompetitive effects by requiring CentraCare to allow a number of adult primary care, pediatric, and OB/GYN physicians to leave the health system and work for other local providers or establish a new practice in the area and to provide certain financial incentives to a number of departing physicians.

Type of Action
Administrative
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
161 0096
Docket Number
C-4594

FTC Staff Comment to the Delaware Board of Dietetics/Nutrition Regarding Its Proposed Telehealth Regulation

Date
Matter Number
V160015
FTC staff submitted a comment to the Delaware Board of Dietetics/Nutrition regarding its proposed telehealth regulation that would require in-person initial evaluations of patients, and then allow...

FTC Staff Comment Before the Delaware Board of Occupational Therapy Concerning its Proposed Telehealth Regulation

Date
Matter Number
V160014
FTC staff submitted a comment to the Delaware Board of Occupational Therapy Practice on its proposed regulation that would likely facilitate the provision of occupational therapy services to Delaware...

FTC Staff Comment to the Department of Veterans Affairs: Proposed Rule Regarding Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Date
Matter Number
V160013
Docket Number
RIN 2900–AP44
FTC staff submitted a comment to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs regarding a proposed rule that would permit the VA to grant “full practice authority” to the four main categories of Advanced...

Keystone Orthopaedic Specialists, LLC, and Orthopaedic Associates of Reading, Ltd., In the Matter of

Keystone Orthopaedic Specialists, LLC, an orthopedic practice formed through a combination of six independent orthopedic practices, agreed to settle charges that the merger substantially reduced competition for orthopedic services in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The complaint also names Orthopaedic Associates, one of the six practices that merged into Keystone in 2011, which was split off from Keystone in 2014. Under the terms of the settlement, Keystone and Orthopaedic Associates are required to obtain prior approval from the Commission before acquiring any interests in each other, before acquiring another orthopedic practice in Berks County, and before hiring or offering membership to an orthopedist who has provided services in Berks County in the past year. The settlement is designed to maintain competition in the relevant market by preserving Orthopaedic Associates’ separation, and allowing health plans to avail themselves of current market conditions by renegotiating existing Keystone contracts.

Type of Action
Administrative
Last Updated
FTC Matter/File Number
141 0025