AAP News photo by Jeff Knox

Pediatric groups considering acquisitions or mergers should take precautions such as hiring legal counsel experienced in health care antitrust.

In January 2012, an AAP News article warned of emerging risks of antitrust challenges to physician practice acquisitions and mergers (http://aapnews.aappublications.org/content/33/1/19.full). Now, cases involving pediatricians in Idaho and Indiana have shown that such antitrust challenges may derail proposed acquisitions and mergers. These cases provide lessons for pediatric groups considering such transactions.

In Saint Alphonsus v. St. Luke’s (Case No. 1:12-CV-00560-BLW [D. Idaho Jan. 24, 2014]), the court found that the acquisition of a physician group by a hospital that already employed competing primary care physicians violated the antitrust laws. The acquisition created too much power in a local primary care physician market. Two other hospitals, the Federal Trade Commission and the Idaho attorney general challenged the acquisition, claiming an adverse impact on adult...

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