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      FTC Suspends Administrative Proceeding

      The Federal Trade Commission has suspended the administrative proceeding in Washington on the purchase of Palmyra Medical Center by the Hospital Authority of Albany and Dougherty County. The FTC took the action today pending the appeal by the FTC to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals of the ruling in Federal Court in Albany by Judge Louis Sands that the purchase is immune from FTC regulation and dismissing the FTC case. Suspending this proceeding eliminates the need to prepare for and conduct an administrative hearing that was scheduled for Sept. 19 in Washington.

      The Hospital Authority of Albany and Dougherty County, Phoebe entities and HCA had filed a petition earlier this month asking the Commission to suspend the proceedings while the issue of state action immunity is on appeal to the 11th Circuit. The petition was filed to prevent the burden and expenditure of considerable resources in preparing the case for the September hearing in Washington. It also allows the Authority to focus on the critical issue of state action immunity in the Court of Appeals.

      This action will leave everything in a status quo while the matter is briefed and considered on an expedited basis by the appellate court. Oral argument will be scheduled the week of Oct. 3 in Atlanta