Bass, Berry & Sims antitrust attorney Dale Grimes was quoted in the article "When the FTC Looks Back: Implications of Retrospective Reviews of Hospital Mergers" from December 3 on Becker's Hospital Review.
The article reviews the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) recent focus on retrospective antitrust reviews – reviews that occur after a merger has already been consummated. The healthcare industry was an early target of these efforts, as evidenced by the FTC's Hospital Merger Retrospectives Project in 2002. With the heavy increase in consolidation in the industry due to healthcare reform, the FTC has intensified its activities in this area as shown by the disclosure of numerous retrospective investigations of consummated hospital mergers.
Although a merger or acquisition does not have to be reported to the FTC in the pre-merger stage unless it crosses a certain "size of the transaction" threshold – approximately $71 million at present – it still may be reviewed before or after closing for tending to threaten competition in its particular market. Certain post-closing conduct can provide evidence of harm to competition. Hospitals and other healthcare providers need to be aware of this risk and ways to reduce exposure to potential liability or cost of an investigation.
The article outlines the Federal Trade Commission's recent focus on retrospective antitrust reviews. The article can be viewed on Becker's Hospital Review website.