Given the announcement from Atrium Health Navicent, Inc. and Houston Healthcare System, Inc. that they are abandoning their proposed merger, the Federal Trade Commission has closed its investigation into the proposed transaction.
After a thorough investigation, FTC staff of the Northeast Region determined that the proposed merger would eliminate the intense competition between two of the largest hospital systems in the Macon-Warner Robins area of central Georgia. The investigation revealed that the merger was likely to cause significant harm to central Georgia patients and businesses in the form of higher healthcare costs. Staff also uncovered evidence that competition to improve quality of patient care, invest in facilities and technologies, and expand access to healthcare services would be harmed by the merger. As a result, staff recommended that the Commission challenge the merger.
“This is great news for patients in central Georgia. The proposed transaction threatened to increase healthcare costs for employers and patients in the region and would have substantially lessened competition that has benefitted the community through expansion of healthcare services and improved quality of care,” said Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter. “I commend staff for their excellent work on this investigation and their commitment to promoting competition in our healthcare markets.”
The Commission vote to disclose the existence of the investigation and close it was 4-0.