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St. Luke’s Purchase Hits Snag

(Times News) • The Times News reports today that the lawsuit aiming to prevent St. Luke’s Health System from buying a physician-owned medical group in Nampa has been unsealed in federal court and contains allegations about St. Luke’s practices in the Magic Valley.  The Federal Trade Commission and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Boise earlier this month. But the initial complaint was sealed. Judge  Lynn Winmill ordered a redacted version of the complaint to be unsealed earlier this week. St. Luke’s proposed acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group — which has offices in Nampa — will “substantially lessen competition for healthcare services in and around Nampa, Idaho,” the complaint alleges.  The complaint also alleges the acquisition will give St. Luke’s a “dominant market share of adult primary care services.”   The complaint alleges that Costs will rise through a combination of in-system referrals for other services and an extra “facility fee” the hospital charges at its branded practices.  The FTC and state attorney general seek a permanent injunction barring the deal. Dr. David Pate, chief executive officer of St. Luke’s Health System, said the complaint is a series of allegations that haven’t been proven. A status conference is scheduled for April 30 and a trial date has been set for Sept. 16.

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