Judge pauses Penn State Health/PinnacleHealth merger until appeal is decided

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 25, 2016 10:18 AM

FILE PHOTO: Courtesy Penn State Hershey Medical Center

(Harrisburg) -- A judge is ordering Penn State Health and PinnacleHealth to pause work on their merger pending an appeal.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals granted the request from the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorney General's Office, which are fighting the merger.

They argue allowing the two health systems to join together would bring higher health care prices to much of the midstate because of less competition.

They're appealing a federal judge's decision that allows the merger to go forward.

"We believe that this merger is anticompetitive, we are pleased that the court has enjoined it, and we look forward to proving our case on the merits of the appeal," an FTC spokesperson said.

Penn State Health and PinnacleHealth have argued that the merger would save consumers money and allow for more efficiency and innovation.

In a joint statement from Penn State Health and PinnacleHealth, they say, "We remain fully committed to finding innovative ways to best serve our patients and our broader community and we are optimistic about a shared future that positions us to provide the highest quality and most cost-effective care possible."

A decision in the appeal could come sometime this summer.

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