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FTC Seeks to Stop Tenet's Purchase of Hospital

April 17, 1998|Bloomberg News

The Federal Trade Commission voted to challenge Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s purchase of a 230-bed hospital in Poplar Bluff, Mo. Tenet said it will fight the FTC in court, setting up a legal showdown over the company's bid to purchase Doctors Regional Medical Center from a physicians group for an undisclosed sum. The FTC charged that the acquisition would give Tenet a virtual monopoly--78%--in the market for acute-care inpatient hospital services near the town, located in southeastern Missouri. Tenet already owns a 201-bed facility in Poplar Bluff. "This acquisition would eliminate price, cost and quality competition that now exists between these two hospitals and put consumers at risk of paying more for health care," said William J. Baer, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition. Tenet spokesman Lance Ignon said joint ownership would bring efficiencies to the two hospitals that now operate well below capacity. Shares of the Santa Barbara-based company fell 75 cents to close at $40.06 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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