Federal Trade Commission and the State of Georgia v. Phoebe Putney Health Systems, Inc., et al.

Date Filed: April 20, 2011
Status: Decided
District Court: United States of America Before The Federal Trade Commission; Middle District of Georgia Albany Division – FTC Matter No. 111 0067; Case No. 1:11–cv–58 (WLS)
Appellate Court: 11th Circuit Case No. 11–12906; Supreme Court Case No. 11–1160
Nature of Suit: Healthcare Consolidation
Defendant Type: Provider
Plaintiff Type: Federal, State
Case Info: https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/111-0067/phoebe-putney-health-system-inc-phoebe-putney-memorial

In April 2011, the FTC challenged Phoebe Putney Health System’s acquisition of a hospital from the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County as having anticompetitive effects and alleging that Phoebe had structured the deal to improperly take advantage of the state action doctrine. On June 27, 2011 the district court dismissed the FTC’s complaint, ruling that Phoebe Putney was immune from antitrust liability under the state action doctrine. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, ruling that the state of Georgia has no clearly articulated a policy that allows hospital authorities to make acquisitions that substantially lessen competition.

On March 31, 2015, the FTC announced that it had reached a consent agreement concerning the acquisition. The post-Supreme Court settlement reached is similar to the one proposed in 2013 (the FTC withdrew its acceptance in 2014), and: (1) requires Phoebe Putney and the Hospital Authority to give the FTC prior notice before acquiring any part of a hospital or a controlling interest in other healthcare providers in the Albany, Georgia area; (2) prohibits the Hospital Authority and Phoebe Putney from opposing a Certificate of Need application for a general acute-care hospital in the Albany area; and (3) contains a stipulation that the effect of the transaction may be substantially to lessen competition within the relevant service and geographic markets alleged in the complaint. Find the FTC case summary and related documents here.

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