FTC Staff Provides Supplemental Public Comment in Virginia Opposing Health Systems’ Cooperative Agreement Application

Staff finds likely harm not outweighed by the potential benefits of the merger or sufficiently mitigated by the proposed Cooperative Agreement commitments

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The Federal Trade Commission staff submitted a supplemental comment and analysis to the Virginia Department of Health that opposes issuing a letter authorizing a cooperative agreement to Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System. The supplemental comment replies to Mountain States and Wellmont’s October 14, 2016 response to FTC staff’s previous comment, and provides a chart analyzing the parties’ proposed cooperative agreement commitments.

In both comments, staff of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Economics, and Office of Policy Planning expressed concern that the proposed merger of Mountain States and Wellmont would lead to significant harm to residents of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. Also, according to the comments, the two hospital systems have not shown that this harm would be outweighed by the purported benefits of the merger, or offset by the commitments they have proposed. As a result, the parties “failed to meet their burden by a wide margin.”

The Commission vote to issue the staff public comment to the Virginia Department of Health was 3-0. (FTC File No. 1510115; the staff contacts are Goldie Walker, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2919, and Stephanie Wilkinson, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-2084).

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Contact Information

Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs