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Court Rules That St. Luke’s Must Separate From Saltzer Medical Group

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By Paul Johnson

Boise, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill denied St. Luke’s request that the medical group be allowed to keep in place the recent purchase of the Saltzer Medical Group. In January 2014, Winmill ruled that the acquisition be undone.

According to the judge, the health system broke antitrust laws following the purchase of Saltzer Medical Group. That group was the largest independent physicians practice. Winmill said, “The acquisition was intended by St. Luke’s and Saltzer primarily to improve patient outcomes. The Court is convinced that it would have that effect if left intact, and St. Luke’s is to be applauded for its efforts to improve the delivery of health care in the Treasure Valley.” He went on to say that there are better ways to achieve the same effect.

In court Wednesday, the judge upheld his decision. The St. Luke’s Health system in a news release Thursday said they are extremely disappointed by the ruling from the judge.

The news release went on to say that St. Luke’s is currently considering the judge’s order and may seek a stay from the appellate court. St. Luke’s said the order does not give a timeline as to when they must complete it’s divestiture of Saltzer Medical Group. “All efforts will be made to complete the process in a thoughtful and orderly manner to limit the disruption to employees and patients,” according to the release.

In its appeal, St. Luke's contends that Judge Winmill erred in concluding that St. Luke's acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group would cause substantial anti-competitive effects, while dismissing the substantial proc-competitive benefits the District Court believed would have resulted if the acquisition were to stand.


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