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October 07, 1994|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

State to Scrutinize Health Care Merger: The Florida attorney general's office said it will give close antitrust scrutiny to Columbia-HCA Healthcare Corp.'s agreement to acquire HealthTrust Inc. for $3.45 billion. Jerome Hoffman, the state's antitrust chief, said the attorney general's office will focus on Columbia 's influence over managed-care programs and physician hospital privileges in several geographic areas: Orlando, St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, the Panhandle and south Florida. Columbia now owns 46 hospitals in Florida, or about 20% of hospital capacity in the state, said Dan Moen, president of Columbia's Florida Group. The acquisition might limit patients' choices should Columbia's bargaining power with managed-care plans and physicians be unduly expanded, Hoffman said.

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