FTC “still reviewing” Ballad Health merger


JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Before Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System close on their now approved merger, they’ve given the Federal Trade Commission a 30-day window to review the deal, according to the organizations.

“We have actively worked with the FTC since the beginning of the merger process,” the health systems said. “Although FTC approval is not required in order for us to complete the merger, we reached agreement with the FTC early in the process that we would not close the transaction for 30 days after the states approved the COPA and cooperative agreement. FTC staffers have commented on our proposed merger, but the FTC itself has not taken a formal position.”

A FTC spokesperson said Monday the agency is still reviewing the transaction. FTC employees have raised significant concerns about the merger, but earlier this month the FTC announced plans to obtain research and public comments related to the impact of certificates of public advantage on prices, quality, access and innovation for healthcare services. The agency also called for public comments regarding “the benefits or harms that have resulted from COPAs or other state-based regulatory approaches intended to control healthcare prices and improve quality.”

“We respect and appreciate the work of the FTC, and we are happy the agency is interested in further evaluating the role that COPAs can play in protecting consumers,” the health systems said.

MSHA and Wellmont expect to close on the merger in early 2018, but have not yet set a specific date.Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

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