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.