Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016
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ST. LUKE’S DIVESTITURE

ProMedica files suit for full court review

Health system wants to hang onto St. Luke’s

ProMedica is continuing the fight to keep St. Luke’s Hospital under its umbrella. The hospital system has filed an appeal with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati asking for a review of a previous court order that called on ProMedica to divest itself of St. Luke’s in Maumee.

In a unanimous opinion issued in April, a three-judge panel of the court of appeals denied ProMedica’s petition to overturn a Federal Trade Commission ruling issued in 2011 that said it would be illegal and anti-competitive for ProMedica to merge with St. Luke’s.

ProMedica is now asking that the full court of 12 justices review of case.

In court documents ProMedica argued that a full-court hearing “... is vitally important given the consequences of the panel decision for anti-trust law, for the health-care market, and for the city of Toledo. Toledo citizens stand to suffer substantial harm, if, as the panel ordered, ProMedica must divest St. Luke’s.”

ProMedica, the area’s largest health system, is embroiled in a lengthy battle with the FTC over its acquisition of St. Luke’s hospital in 2010. Despite being ordered to divest itself of St. Luke’s by the Federal Trade Commission and the federal courts ProMedica officials are still hopeful they can prevail in a higher court.

Circuit Judge Raymond M. Kethledge asserted in the court ruling in April 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.

The appellate court and FTC are concerned that in Lucas County, where there are four main hospitals, the result of merging the largest with the smallest will mean less competition, enabling ProMedica to drive up costs.

If the appellate court denies ProMedica’s petition to rehear the case, the hospital system plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.

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