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Statement of Federal Trade Commission Concerning Its Vote to Close the Investigation of a Proposed Transaction Combining Massachusetts Healthcare Providers

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a statement on its vote to close the investigation of a proposed transaction that would combine general acute care hospitals, a psychiatric hospital, and physician practices in eastern Massachusetts.

CareGroup, Inc. (the parent company of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc., Mount Auburn Hospital, and New England Baptist Hospital) proposes to combine with Lahey Health System, Inc.; Seacoast Regional Health System, Inc.; BIDCO Hospital, LLC; and BIDCO Physician, LLC.

The FTC worked closely with the staff of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to investigate whether the proposed transaction would likely substantially lessen competition in any relevant market. The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission also conducted an independent review, referring its findings to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

Today, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office announced a settlement agreement with the parties. The agreement would cap prices over a period of seven years and maintain access for patients.

The Commission statement notes that:

“The assessment of whether to take enforcement action was a close call. However, based on Commission staff’s work and in light of the settlement obtained by the Massachusetts AG, we have decided to close this investigation. The Commission has investigated and successfully challenged many health care provider mergers in recent years, and we remain fully committed to using all the tools at our disposal to protect competition and consumers in this important area of the economy.”

The Commission vote to close the investigation and issue the closing statement was 5-0. (FTC File No. 1710118).