Renown Health-FTC Antitrust Agreement: Guidance for Hospitals Acquiring and Employing Physicians

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Renown was represented in the agencies' investigation and the ensuing settlement negotiations by Ober/Kaler principal Bill Berlin, a member of the firm's Antitrust and Competition Group.

On August 6, 2012, Renown Health entered into consent decrees with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the state of Nevada Attorney General (NAG) settling the antitrust investigation of its consummated cardiology group acquisitions. It is the first FTC settlement of an investigation into a physician group acquisition, and the only antitrust consent decree by any federal or state agency applying a "structural" remedy to a physician merger - here, allowing partial divestiture of physicians - rather than "conduct" relief as state Attorneys General (AG) have imposed in several recent physician merger settlements. Such conduct remedies can impose more restrictive limitations than divestiture on the hospital system's activities. As a result, the Renown Health consent decree provides rare guidance to hospitals and physicians considering such mergers with both horizontal and vertical aspects.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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