BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A southwestern Idaho hospital turf war is escalating, with several medical groups suing a rival to block its latest expansion plans. Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center on Monday was among plaintiffs behind an antitrust lawsuit meant to halt Boise-based St. Luke's Health System from buying physician-owned Saltzer Medical Group. In U.S. District Court, Saint Alphonsus argues St. Luke's acquisition of Saltzer's facility in Nampa threatens to monopolize a broad series of markets in Idaho, increasing costs, reducing quality — and crippling Saint Alphonsus' Nampa hospital. Federal and state regulators have already been scrutinizing St. Luke's advances toward Saltzer. In its lawsuit, Saint Alphonsus contends St. Luke's has acquired more than 20 physician practices, five hospitals and four surgery centers recently, gaining a dominant position in the region's health care market.

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