HCA Healthcare and LCMC Health each sued the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice on Wednesday, saying antitrust enforcers at the federal agencies are illegally trying to halt their recently closed hospital deal — and threatening the hospital systems with millions of dollars in penalties.
The legal brawl highlights how federal antitrust officials are determined to challenge hospital transactions — especially those in which local market power would inevitably transfer to one dominant system — and how some deep-pocketed hospitals are willing to fight back.
This past January, LCMC Health, a not-for-profit hospital system based in New Orleans, completed its purchase of three hospitals owned by HCA: Tulane University Medical Center, Lakeview Regional Medical Center, and Tulane Lakeside Hospital. Both systems said Louisiana’s attorney general cleared the deal in December under a “certificate of public advantage.” State COPAs, which are controversial in antitrust circles, mean the deal is immune from federal antitrust review.
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