ALAMEDA COUNTY: FTC Takes a Closer Look at Summit, Alta Bates Merger
The Federal Trade Commission "has launched an antitrust investigation" into the proposed merger between Summit Medical Center and Sutter Health-owned Alta Bates Medical Center, the Sacramento Business Journal reports. Both hospitals filed pre-merger documents with the FTC in December, but the federal agency last month issued a "second request" for more information. Sutter spokesperson Bill Gleeson confirmed that the FTC "notified us late last month that they do, indeed, have "extremely detailed and wide-ranging" questions. FTC antitrust attorney John Wiegand "would not confirm or deny an investigation, but noted that 'the timing can be pretty elongated'" and that responding to such requests can be complicated. Gleeson said, "It's clear that there are three options facing these two organizations. One or both will close, one or both will curtail services, or the two will merge." While the FTC will have 20 days once the information is submitted to approve the merger or file suit against it, the Business Times reports that "the FTC hasn't attempted to stop any hospital merger in the state for almost a decade" (Robertson, 2/22 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.