ProMedica has lost a court battle with the Federal Trade Commission and the hospital system is once again being ordered to divest itself of St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee.
In a unanimous opinion, the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati today denied ProMedica's petition to overturn a FTC ruling issued in 2011 that said it would be illegal and anti-competitive for ProMedica to merge with St. Luke's.
In a written statement about the ruling, ProMedica leaders said: "We are extremely disappointed by today’s decision and intend to appeal. We are committed to exhausting all of our legal options."
The statement went on to say that "as we continue this legal journey, we would like to emphasize that St. Luke’s Hospital remains a member of ProMedica, continues to serve patients, and all health plans currently accepted at St. Luke’s will continue to be accepted."
Circuit Judge Raymond M. Kethledge asserted in the ruling today that ProMedica's merger with St. Luke's gives the hospital system too much bargaining clout when it comes to setting reimbursement rates with major health-care insurance companies.
According to court documents, ProMedica was -- before the merger -- already the “dominant” health-care system in Lucas County, with 46.8 percent of the market. Documents said St. Luke's, which was an independent, nonprofit hospital, had 11.5 percent of the market.
Judge Kethledge said in the ruling that the merger would result in "a tremendous increase in concentration in a market that already was highly concentrated and the merger would make ProMedica dominate in southwest Lucas County."
St. Luke's and ProMedica merged in May, 2010. The following year, in December, 2011, the FTC ordered ProMedica to divest of St. Luke's.