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The at­tor­neys gen­eral from 16 states have filed an ami­cus brief back­ing the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion in its closely watched bid to undo an Idaho health sys­tem’s ac­qui­si­tion of a physi­cian prac­tice.

A U.S. district judge in Boise, Idaho, had or­dered St. Luke’s Health Sys­tem to di­vest Saltzer Med­i­cal Group, say­ing the ad­di­tion gave St. Luke’s con­trol of 80% of the pri­mary-care physi­cians in Nampa, Idaho. The case is now in front of the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals. In their ami­cus brief, the at­tor­neys gen­eral urged the ap­peals court to up­hold the lower court’s rul­ing, ar­gu­ing they have wit­nessed that provider con­sol­i­da­tion has in­creased prices for in­sur­ers, which pass along the costs to con­sumers.

Pri­vately held Ge­n­e­sis Health­care and pub­licly traded Skilled Health­care Group in­tend to merge, cre­at­ing a post-acute-care be­he­moth with ap­prox­i­mately $5.5 bil­lion in pro forma rev­enue.

Un­der terms of a deal an­nounced Aug. 18, Ge­n­e­sis, based in Ken­nett Square, Pa., will ab­sorb Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based Skilled Health­care. Ge­n­e­sis share­hold­ers will own 74.25% of the new com­bined com­pany, while ex­ist­ing Skilled share­hold­ers will own the re­main­ing amount. The new com­pany will op­er­ate un­der the Ge­n­e­sis name.

The long- stand­ing pa­tient- safety risks posed by im­prop­erly con­nected med­i­cal tubes must be ad­dressed by providers, the Joint Com­mis­sion said last week in a Sen­tinel Event alert.

Al­most all in­pa­tients are at risk be­cause most re­ceive medicine or other flu­ids through an in­tra­venous tube dur­ing a hos­pi­tal stay. Prime ex­am­ples of po­ten­tially fa­tal mis­con­nec­tions cited by the Joint Com­mis­sion in­clude link­ing a feed­ing tube to a tra­cheotomy line or con­nect­ing an IV tube to an epidu­ral source. “Tub­ing mis­con­nec­tions are the root cause of too many episodes of pa­tient harm, and the Joint Com­mis­sion is com­mit­ted to help­ing health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions pre­vent them,” Joint Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Dr. Mark Chas­sin said.

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