Pennsylvania drops legal challenge to health system merger

Pennsylvania has dropped its legal challenge to the proposed merger of Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health and Einstein Healthcare Network. The Federal Trade Commission and Pennsylvania attorney general in March issued an administrative complaint alleging that the proposed merger would reduce competition in two counties, and sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the merger during the administrative proceeding.

The federal district court last month rejected the legal challenge. The FTC has not indicated whether it will appeal the December loss.

“We value the Attorney General’s decision not to appeal the ruling made by Judge Pappert in Federal District Court,” Jefferson Health and Einstein Healthcare Network said in a joint statement. “This helps us proceed with our merger, which is based on a deep commitment to the communities we serve, including a dedication to enhancing essential healthcare services in North Philadelphia. Expanded access to care in North Philadelphia will be realized with the plans Jefferson and Einstein have jointly developed. Our merger is a significant step forward for patient care, wellness, and health sciences education, and we are eager to move forward together.”

AHA has urged members of Congress and other policymakers “to make clear that antitrust enforcement in the hospital sector needs to account for all relevant factors,” in particular “the long-term viability of health care facilities and their ability to provide quality and reliable healthcare and access to all members of communities.”