Despite ProMedica’s already high market penetration and related anti-trust implications, St. Luke’s Hospital made the risky decision several years ago to merge with ProMedica (“ProMedica ordered to drop St. Luke’s; Court declares merger anti-competitive,” April 23).
Based on a recent federal appeals court decision, ProMedica and St. Luke’s face the complicated and unpleasant task of unwinding the merger. But despite claims by St. Luke’s officials that the hospital would close without the ProMedica merger, St. Luke’s is a viable community hospital that provides high-quality medical care and is in a desirable location.
Other local hospital systems surely would have an interest in a mutually beneficial merger with St. Luke’s. Moreover, St. Luke’s can pursue a merger partner among successful hospital systems that have made inroads in northwest Ohio, including Cleveland Clinic and several Michigan systems.
ProMedica has spent millions of dollars on legal and other fees associated with the Federal Trade Commission’s challenge to the merger. These funds would have been far better spent on patient care.
How many more millions will it take to pursue an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court? What are the chances of success?
The loss of St. Luke’s as a merger partner, while a setback, would not deter ProMedica’s strategic and competitive astuteness. It has continued to further its local market position in recent years by acquiring and constructing medical facilities and recruiting many additional physicians.
Whatever the final outcome of the merger case, ProMedica will have its bases covered as it seeks to retain and grow its market share in St. Luke’s service area.
Editor’s note: The writer is a former president and CEO of Mercy Health Partners and St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.
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