FTC gives Ky. deal go-ahead
The Federal Trade Commission appears satisfied with the impact that a proposed $620 million merger with the University of Louisville Hospital and two subsidiaries of Catholic Health Initiatives would have on competition within Kentucky’s healthcare market.
“Given this development, the timeline for closing the transaction could be sooner than we had initially planned,” CHI said in a statement.
The FTC declined to ask for additional information about how the deal could affect the competitive landscape of healthcare in the area after the parties applied for the review required under the premerger notification process. The commission’s 30-day window to further investigate the deal expired Aug. 25, according to a spokesman for St. Joseph Health System in Lexington, Ky., one of two CHI-affiliated organizations involved.
The lack of action means the FTC will not attempt to block the proposal, which would combine the 329-bed University of Louisville Hospital with CHI’s 462-bed Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Healthcare in Louisville, Ky., and St. Joseph (June 20, p. 6).
The deal still needs approval at the state level, as well as from the Roman Catholic Church. The agreement envisions a yet-to-be named, taxexempt health system that would adhere to the tenets of the church, including restrictions on reproduction services and end-of-life planning.
University of Louisville officials announced last week an agreement for its faculty gynecologists and obstetricians to provide reproductive services at Baptist Hospital East in Louisville. The university said the agreement would ensure the community retains access to those services after the merger.
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway continues his scrutiny of the deal, which his office called precedent-setting with nationwide impact. Conway has said he is concerned that the University of Louisville Hospital receives taxpayer support and lies on stateowned land. There’s no timeframe from when his office would complete its “lengthy” review, said spokeswoman Allison Gardner Martin.
Denver-based CHI plans on investing $320 million in working capital into the deal, as well as $200 million for building improvements and an additional $100 million for statewide services.