Court grants FTC's request to temporarily block Phoebe-Palmyra merger

Updated Thursday, July 7 at 1:55 p.m.

The Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition Director Richard Feinstein released the following statement on Thursday in regards to the decision made by 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granting the FTC their temporary injunction of the Phoebe-Palmyra merger:

"We are gratified by the 11th Circuit's order and are pleased that Phoebe Putney will not be permitted to complete its acquisition of Palmyra Park Hospital while the Eleventh Circuit considers our appeal. We intend to show that the proposed transaction â" which will lead to a monopoly in the Albany, Georgia area â" will result in higher health care costs for local patients and should not be immune from federal antitrust scrutiny."

The temporary block of the merger will give the FTC time for their expedited appeal of its decision allowing Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc.'s proposed acquisition of Palmyra Park Hospital, Inc. to be processed and heard in court.

In June, the FTC is appealing the decision made in Federal Court by Judge Louis Sands that granted the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County's motion to dismiss the injunction made by the FTC.

Regardless of a decision made about their appeal, the FTC says they will continue with their administrative complaint against the Phoebe-Palmyra merger. As their case against the acquisition continues, they say it could end in one of many ways: The case could go before the Supreme Court, the case could be settled out of court, the transaction could be abandoned or the FTC could lose and withdraw their complaint.

Original Story

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a request by the Federal Trade Commission to temporarily block Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital from purchasing Palmyra Medical Center.

According to the document, the injunction is set to allow time for an appeal by the FTC to be heard. In June, Federal Judge Louis Sands dismissed the FTC's injunction against the Phoebe-Palmyra merger.

The decision to grant the FTC's temporary injunction comes hours before Phoebe and Palmyra's parent company â" the Hospital Corporation of America â" were set to finalize the $195 million buyout.