Pennsylvania State Attorney General Kathleen Kane is joining the Federal Trade Commission in a legal block against the proposed merger between Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System.
After reviewing the merger request, the FTC determined that a union of the two largest health systems in Harrisburg area would inflate health costs and reduce competition in the surrounding areas, such as Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, and Lebanon counties. By combining, the health systems would control approximately 64 percent of the Harrisburg-area market, which could impact the quality and cost of care for more than 500,000 residents.
After a 4-0 vote the FTC, with the support of the state Attorney General, will file for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction in federal court to freeze the merger.
PinnacleHealth and Hershey Medical Center plan to oppose the order. According to a statement, the purpose of the merger was to work towards the goals and overall mission of the Affordable Care Act by attempting to provide the depth of services required for the population’s health management at an affordable cost.
“Over the next several days our respective boards and leadership teams, with guidance from legal counsel, will carefully examine our options in continuing to advocate for our partnership,” the health organizations announced.
The trial is set to begin on May 17, 2016.