Valley healthcare giants face off in the courtroom

Valley healthcare giants face off in the courtroom

Valley healthcare giants face off in the courtroom

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by Bonnie Shelton

Bio | Email | Follow: @BonnieKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 3:43 PM

BOISE -- A major, antitrust lawsuit between two local healthcare providers begins Monday.

Saint Alphonsus Medical Center filed suit against St. Luke's Health System in 2012, claiming its acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group in Nampa violated antitrust laws.

The Saint Alphonsus Medical Center complaint claims if the acquisition is allowed, it would give St. Luke's an unfair advantage in the market.

In court documents, Saint Alphonsus also argues that St. Luke's and Saltzer joining together puts the majority of primary care doctors in Nampa under one health system.

Right now, St. Luke's owns Saltzer, and patient care is combined.

Opponents argue the move has given St. Luke's and Saltzer Medical a 60 percent share of the market, and because of that, other healthcare options are less attractive to local employers.

They say the acquisition will eventually drive up healthcare costs.

St. Luke's officials say that's not true.

A judge allowed St. Luke's to go ahead with the purchase of Saltzer in December, but did agree to hear this complaint.

Two government agencies are also suing St. Luke's for the same reason.

According to court documents, the Federal Trade Commission and Idaho Attorney General say the health system's aqcuisition of Saltzer Medical group is illegal. They joined the lawsuit earlier this year.

The trial is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. in Boise. Stay with KTVB for updates.

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