Court: St. Luke’s in Boise can keep Saltzer for now

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Rachel Lan­den

St. Luke’s Health Sys­tem in Boise, Idaho, may con­tinue to op­er­ate Nampa, Idaho-based physi­cian prac­tice Saltzer Med­i­cal Group, de­spite a Jan­uary ju­di­cial order to di­vest, a fed­eral judge ruled re­cently.

St. Luke’s filed an ap­peal with the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in June af­ter U. S. District Judge B. Lynn Win­mill or­dered that it un­wind its ac­qui­si­tion of Saltzer. Af­ter grant­ing a stay of the di­vesti­ture order last week, the 9th Cir­cuit also said it would hear St. Luke’s ap­peal on the ear­li­est avail­able court date.

Ac­cord­ing to the orig­i­nal case’s plain­tiffs—St. Luke’s Boise com­peti­tors, St. Alphon­sus Health Sys­tem and Treasure Val­ley Hos­pi­tal, the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion and Idaho At­tor­ney Gen­eral Lawrence Was­den—the St. Luke’s-Saltzer deal vi­o­lated an­titrust re­stric­tions.

The plain­tiffs ar­gued that the ac­qui­si­tion of Saltzer would give St. Luke’s con­trol of nearly 80% of the Nampa pri­mary-care mar­ket, thereby giv­ing it greater lever­age with health plans, which in turn would drive up health­care prices in the area just west of Boise. Win­mill agreed with the plain­tiffs and or­dered that St. Luke’s give up Saltzer.

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