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FTC sues to block John Muir Health's acquisition of San Ramon hospital

Federal regulators argue $142.5M deal would reduce competition, increase patient costs
San Ramon Regional Medical Center had been poised for a change in ownership prior to FTC action on Nov. 17 seeking to block the deal.

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block John Muir Health's acquisition of San Ramon Regional Medical Center from Tenet Healthcare, citing concerns about the planned deal's potential to reduce competition for health care in the valley and thereby threatening quality and costs to patients.

The FTC announced Friday that commissioners had filed an administrative complaint regarding the proposed agreement, with plans to subsequently file a complaint in federal court following an investigation into the deal in conjunction with the California Attorney General's Office.

San Ramon Regional Medical Center has played an important role in ensuring Californians in the I-680 corridor have access to quality, affordable care for critical health care services, such as cardiac surgery and childbirth, Henry Liu, director of the FTCs Bureau of Competition, said in Friday's announcement. John Muirs acquisition of San Ramon Medical would increase already high health care costs in the area and threaten to stall quality improvements that help advance care for all patients.

Under the proposed deal, John Muir Health which has an existing 49% non-operating interest in the hospital was set to be sole proprietor and owner of the facility, acquiring Tenet Healthcare Corporation's current 51% interest for $142.5 million.

The deal was announced early this year, with officials at both companies expecting it to be finalized by the end of the year pending approval from federal regulators.

The administrative complaint announced Friday alleges that if the deal were to go through, John Muir Health would have the power to control more than half of the market along the I-680 corridor for acute patient care and drive up prices, with SRRMC currently offering lower prices and serving as a competitor to John Muir Health.

FTC officials noted that administrative complaints are issued when the commission has grounds to believe that a deal would violate the law and that the decision to halt a deal is in the public interest.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the administrative complaint as well as seek a temporary injunction and restraining order to prevent the acquisition.


About the Author: Jeanita Lyman

Jeanita joined the Pleasanton Weekly in September 2020 and covers the Danville and San Ramon beat. She studied journalism at Skyline College and Mills College while covering the Peninsula for the San Mateo Daily Journal, returning to the area in 2013.
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