Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation has applied for Federal Trade Commission approval to divest its 84 percent partnership interest in the Alaska Surgery Center in Anchorage, Alaska, to Surgical Care Affiliates, Inc. Columbia/HCA and Surgical Care America both are headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. The Commission is seeking public comments on the application for 30 days, until Nov. 27.
Columbia/HCA acquired the Alaska Surgery Center in its $692 million acquisition of Medical Care America, Inc. Divestiture of the Center is required under a December 6, 1994 consent order Columbia/HCA signed with the FTC to settle charges that the acquisition would violate antitrust laws by combining the owners of two competing health facilities that offer outpatient surgery services in Anchorage, possibly leading to higher prices or reduced quality for such services. The settlement permitted the merger, but requires Columbia/HCA to divest the Alaska Surgery Center within 12 months to an entity that will operate it as an ongoing, viable outpatient surgical facility in competition with Columbia/HCA, thus restoring the competition lost in the merger.
In its application, Columbia/HCA maintains that Surgical Care Affiliates would be new to the surgery center business in Alaska, and that it is a financially-strong firm with substantial experience in owning and operating outpatient surgery facilities. Thus, the divestiture would establish a þvigorous new competitorþ and thereby fulfill the objective of the consent order, Columbia/HCA said. (Surgical Care Affiliates is about to be acquired by HealthSouth Corporation, which has no surgical center operations in Anchorage.)
Comments on the application should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
Copies of the application and of the December 1994 are available from the FTCþs Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC Docket No. C-3544)