SUMMIT-ALTA BATES: Federal Judge Allows Merger to Move Forward
Just hours after a federal judge struck down state Attorney General Bill Lockyer's (D) attempt to stop the merger of Oakland-based Summit Medical Center and Berkeley-based Alta Bates Medical Center, the two hospitals formally completed the merger. U.S. District Court Judge Maxine Chesney gave no explanation for allowing the merger to proceed, but said that she would provide her findings later (McMillan, C ontra Costa Times, 12/28). Sandra Michioku, spokesperson for the attorney general, said, the decision "is an obvious disappointment" and is "not in the consumer's best interests." Lockyer had filed suit in August to stop the merger, claiming that the "deal would give Sutter too much control over services and prices in California's East Bay market." His office conducted an investigation which concluded that the two hospitals are "each other's best substitute, leaving no equal alternative if a merger were to occur." Further, the investigation determined that the combined hospitals would control 85% of the market. The hospitals, on the other hand, maintain that their merger will feature "reduced operating costs, less duplicative spending and improved services" (Reuters Health, 12/29).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.