On April 28, 2008, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued its final order and opinion enabling the lost competition between Chicago-based Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Corporation (“ENH”) and Highland Park Hospital.
In October 2005, an administrative law judge ruled that ENH’s acquisition of Highland Park Hospital was anticompetitive and violated federal antitrust law. In August 2007, the FTC affirmed the court’s decision but stated that it lacked sufficiently detailed information about ENH’s contract negotiations to craft a precise order.
After reviewing ENH’s proposal and comments, the FTC issued its final opinion and order to remedy the loss of competition. It required ENH to establish separate negotiating teams for both inpatient and outpatient services at ENH and Highland Park. The Order also requires ENH to give prior notification to the Commission of any future acquisitions of hospitals that it may make within the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area for the next 10 years. The Order terminates in 20 years.