Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation has applied to the Federal Trade Commission for approval to divest hospitals it owns in West Valley City and Layton, Utah, and in Milton, Florida, to Paracelsus Healthcare Corporation; and in West Jordan, Utah, to Champion Healthcare Corporation. The applications will be subject to public comment for 30 days, until Nov. 20.
Columbia/HCA, the parent company of Healthtrust, Inc. - The Hospital Company, is based in Nashville, Tennessee. These and other divestitures are required under a 1995 consent order Columbia/HCA signed to settle FTC charges that its $3 billion merger with Healthtrust would impair hospital competition -- leading to higher prices, reduced services, or both -- in areas of Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Utah. To restore that competition, the consent order requires a total of seven divestitures, and also mandates that Columbia/HCA terminate its participation in a joint venture. The divestitures must be completed within specified timelines to Commission-approved acquirers, and Columbia/HCA is required to keep the hospitals to be divested marketable and viable pending divestiture.
In the applications announced today, the first to be filed by Columbia/HCA under the order, Columbia/HCA seeks FTC approval to divest to Paracelsus Corporation:
and to divest to Champion:
Paracelsus is located in Pasadena, California, and Champion is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
According to the Paracelsus application, that company would be a new entrant into the Utah and Milton, Florida, markets, and it is financially strong with substantial experience in the hospital field. Similarly, Columbia/HCA maintains that Champion is financially strong and experienced in the operation of acute care hospitals. Thus, the applications state, the divestitures would establish vigorous competitors in the relevant areas.
Comments on the applications should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
Copies of the applications, as well as the 1995 consent order, are available from the FTCþs Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTCþs World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC Docket No. C-3619)