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St. Luke’s Antitrust Lawsuit Reveals Possible Increased Costs

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Recently released documents in an antitrust lawsuit against a Boise medical center show the company merger could have raised some health care costs.

A federal judge last week found that St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center violated antitrust laws when it purchased the Nampa-based Saltzer Medical Group. The order to nullify the year-old merger came after St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and the Federal Trade Commission sued, contending the merger would erode competition and result in higher prices for patients.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Judge B. Lynn Winmill unsealed the documents that influenced his decision on Tuesday. They included an analysis by a consultant who found office and outpatient visits could be billed at rates about 60 percent higher if the visits were St. Luke’s-based rather than Saltzer-based.

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