Capella Healthcare Says Nothing Shaky about FTC Investigation

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 12:00 am  

A spokeswoman for Capella Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn., says Whispers was wrong last week when it reported on a Federal Trade Commission investigation into the pending sale of Mercy Hot Springs to Capella.

We said that the FTC had issued at least one subpoena and that “usually means it is inclined to block a sale on antitrust grounds.” And a headline that appeared on ArkansasBusiness.com said the subpoena puts the sale “on shaky ground.”

“These are absolutely incorrect assumptions,” Capella spokeswoman Beth Wright wrote in an email.

Included in her email was a statement from Neil Kunkel, SVP and general counsel for Capella, who said that the transaction required approval from the FTC.

“This process routinely includes the FTC requesting interviews and documents from all key stakeholders, including third parties such as insurance companies, by issuing subpoenas and making other formal requests,” he wrote.

“These are simply steps that are part of the process and are in no way an indication of any potential future decision.”

At Capella’s urging, we checked in with attorney John “Jeff” Miles of Washington, D.C., who wrote the six-volume treatise “Health Care & Antitrust Law.”

Miles said it was common for the FTC to talk to people connected to a transaction and, as it happens, “Some people don’t want to talk to the government unless they’re forced to,” he said.

He also added that a person can’t guess the outcome of the investigation based only on the fact that the FTC issued a subpoena.

Still, Miles said, “I guess you can say anytime there’s an investigation there’s at least a little bit of shaky ground.”

 

 

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