The Federal Trade Commission on Monday requested 60 days beyond a previous deadline to decide whether to sign off on its 2013 antitrust settlement with an Albany hospital system. Monday was the FTC’s deadline to finalize the agreement with Phoebe Putney Health System.
Georgia’s high-profile hospital antitrust saga may not be over after all. The Federal Trade Commission is asking a state agency whether a potential divestiture of the Albany hospital that Phoebe Putney acquired in 2011 would require regulatory approval. Last August, the FTC and Phoebe Putney Health System announced they were settling the agency’s long-running antitrust suit over the hospital acquisition. But that deal has not yet been finalized.
Georgia health care had more than its share of drama and surprises in 2013. Some of the big stories were linked to the Affordable Care Act. This far-reaching federal law, passed in early 2010, was still generating changes and attracting controversy as if it were brand new. But the ACA wasn’t the only hot topic in Georgia health. Issues ranged from drug scares to complex policy disputes and funding battles.
The Federal Trade Commission data shows Georgia was second in the nation for identity theft complaints in 2011, behind only Florida. The state’s residents filed more than 11,000 identity theft complaints with federal agencies, Better Business Bureaus and other agencies, a 20 percent increase from the year before.
Federal regulators are continuing their challenge of the sale of a hospital in southwest Georgia. Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany purchased Palmyra Medical Center in December. But the Federal Trade Commission now wants the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the sale and asked Friday for an extension of the deadline to file its hearing request.