WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Jan. 13 that its staff has submitted a supplemental comment and analysis to the Virginia Department of Health.
In the comments, the staff voices opposition to issuing a letter authorizing a cooperative agreement to Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System.
The FTC first commented on the issue Oct. 14. After the comment, Mountain States and Wellmont provided responses. The staff’s new comments reply to the responses and provide a chart analyzing the parties’ proposed cooperative agreement commitments.
The FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Economics, and Office of Policy Planning reiterated concern for the proposed merger. The staff believes the merger would likely be anticompetitive, that it could harm the residents of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee.
The staff notes the two hospital systems have not provided sufficient evidence that the merger would bring benefits to outweigh the negatives. As a result of this failure, the staff believes that the parties “failed to meet their burden by a wide margin.”
The FTC voted 3-0 to issue the staff's public comment to the Virginia Department of Health.