FTC, Rhode Island AG Move to Block New England Healthcare Merger

The Federal Trade Commission and the Rhode Island Attorney General are using both administrative measures and litigation to stop the proposed merger of Lifespan Corp. and Care New England Health System, the state’s two largest healthcare providers. The deal would lead to higher prices, lower quality of care, and fewer options for cutting-edge medical services, the FTC and AG say. The agencies are pursuing a preliminary injunction pending an administrative trial.

The impact of a merger on inpatient general acute care hospital services and inpatient behavioral health services would extend beyond Rhode Island. The complaint alleges competition would also be reduced in 19 nearby Massachusetts communities. Further, Lifespan and Care New England would control at least 70 percent of the Rhode Island market for inpatient general acute care hospital services and at least 70 percent of the market for inpatient behavioral health services — all in violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act.

“As this country struggles to recover from a devastating pandemic, we can’t afford to allow this kind of concentrated control over critical healthcare services,” FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova said.

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