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Federal Court Halts Hackensack Meridian Health and Englewood Health Merger

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Englewood NJ, a Federal court on Aug. 4 granted the Federal Trade Commission’s bid to block the planned merger of Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health and Englewood (N.J.) Health.

The FTC, which requested a preliminary injunction against the transaction, filed an administrative complaint in December. The court’s decision allows the agency to pursue an administrative case against the deal. The trial is slated to begin Oct. 12.

According to the complaint, the FTC said  the merged healthcare system would control three of the six inpatient general acute care hospitals in Bergen County, New Jersey. The proposed acquisition would eliminate close competition between Hackensack Meridian Health and Englewood in Bergen County and leave insurers with few alternatives for inpatient general acute care services, which encompass a broad range of inpatient medical and surgical diagnostic and treatment services that require an overnight hospital stay. Hackensack Meridian Health would be able to demand higher rates from insurers for the combined entity’s services, which, in turn, may lead to higher insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket costs for plan members. In addition, the elimination of competition would reduce incentives to improve quality.

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