The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted the request for a preliminary injunction by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), pending a full administrative trial before an FTC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on the merits of OSF Healthcare System’s proposed acquisition of Rockford Health System on April 5, 2012. The decision marks the second FTC preliminary injunction granted by a U.S. District Court against parties in a hospital merger in a year (the first being the FTC’s action against ProMedica and St. Luke’s Hospital). In the last year, the FTC also lost its attempt to enjoin the transaction between Phoebe Putney Health System and Palmyra Park Hospital; it is currently seeking cert from the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s actions to stop the FTC based on a finding of State Action immunity. Rich Feinstein, the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, stated, “The Court’s ruling today temporarily blocking OSF’s proposed acquisition of Rockford Health System is a victory for both competition and consumers. We continue to believe in the merits of our case, and that if this deal is ultimately allowed to proceed, the result will be less competition and higher health care prices in the Rockford area. We look forward to presenting our case before the Administrative Law Judge later this month.”
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