The Federal Trade Commission and a South Georgia health system have reached a settlement in a four-year hospital antitrust case that drew national attention and was the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Under the agreement, Phoebe Putney Health System will not have to jettison the former Palmyra Medical Center, which it acquired in 2011 for $195 million. Palmyra was Phoebe’s sole hospital competitor in the Albany market. It now operates as Phoebe North.
The agreement is similar to one that the two sides reached in 2013. The FTC backed away from that deal last year, but this one is final.
The federal agency has contended throughout the legal tangle that Phoebe’s acquisition of Palmyra violated antitrust laws, reducing competition and potentially raising prices for consumers in southwest Georgia.
But FTC officials, in a statement Tuesday, cited restrictions under Georgia’s certificate-of-need (CON) laws as the reason they’re giving up their effort to force a divestiture of Palmyra. CON laws in Georgia regulate the construction and expansion of health care facilities. full story