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FTC seeks to block $350M Tennessee hospital acquisition

MEMPHIS (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block a Memphis-based health care system from acquiring two area hospitals.
A commission news release says it has filed an administrative complaint and authorized a federal lawsuit seeking to halt the proposed $350 million acquisition by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare of Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis and Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, which are owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corporation.
The complaint argues the deal would substantially lessen competition around Memphis for inpatient services that require overnight hospital stays, spurring higher health care costs and lessening incentive to expand and improve offerings. The combined health system would control about 60% of the Memphis-area general acute care services market, the FTC said.
In a statement to news outlets, Methodist and St. Francis leaders said they were “surprised” by the FTC move, arguing the acquisition plan has broad support locally and would lead to lower prices, improved quality and enhanced access to care.