FTC Steps Into UPMC-Washington Health System Merger Talks
Healthcare Transactions attorney Beth Vessel was interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) review of UPMC's proposed acquisition of Washington Health System. UPMC is the largest non-governmental employer in Pennsylvania and dominates the health services market in the western half of the state. Under the deal, UPMC would pick up two hospitals and 18 medical practices in 24 locations. The agency's review comes after it issued new guidelines that deem certain mergers harmful to competition, including ones that give the merged entity more than a 30 percent market share. Ms. Vessel, who also advises clients on antitrust law, explained that FTC involvement in a hospital merger like this one would likely delay regulatory approval, adding that the new 30 percent threshold will increase scrutiny of deals.
"Thirty percent is pretty small," she said. "It just means more transactions will be challenged as potentially anticompetitive."