Nashville-Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III issued the following statement on joining the Federal Trade Commission complaint filed today in federal court.
“After carefully reviewing the proposed acquisition of two Memphis hospitals, known as St. Francis, by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, I decided that the Tennessee Attorney General’s office would join the Federal Trade Commission in contest the proposed transaction.
The figures are striking. If that deal were to go ahead, Methodist would control about 60% of the acute general care (GAC) inpatient market in Memphis. That’s almost double the share of its next closest competitor. We concluded that if Methodists controlled this large part of the market, Tennesseans in Memphis would face higher prices and fewer options for their health care.
As Attorney General, it is my role to enforce the antitrust laws that ensure competition in our state markets. Methodist, which already operates the main Memphis-area children’s hospital that all insurers want in their networks, would also control seven of the twelve hospitals serving the GAC adult market, including Bartlett’s only hospital. We are not convinced that the positive effects of the proposed transaction would outweigh the damage it would cause.
We recognize and respect Methodist’s significant contributions to the Memphis community, but believe the proposed acquisition would simply give it too much power in the Memphis healthcare market and remove incentives to continue improving quality, to expand service, increase access and recruit the best doctors. .
For these reasons, the Tennessee attorney general’s office is joining the Commission’s 5-0 unanimous decision to protect consumers and the health care market in Memphis.
To read the administrative complaint filed by the FTC last week, click here: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/d09396complaint.pdf
# 20-50: TN Attorney General’s Office Joins FTC Challenge to Acquire Memphis Hospital System