FTC blocks OSF and Rockford Health Systems merger

By WEEK Producer

April 6, 2012 Updated Apr 6, 2012 at 10:18 PM CDT

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- A federal judge has temporarily blocked the merger of OSF Healthcare system and Rockford Health System.

That ruling came Thursday after the Federal Trade Commission requested the affiliation be halted, saying the merge would mean less competition and higher costs for patients in Northern Illinois.

Despite the ruling, RHS CEO Gary Kaatz and OSF CEO Dave Schertz support the merger, and said it will ultimately benefit the community.

"[Thursday's] ruling in District Court is especially disappointing in light of a recent very positive decision from the State of Illinois," read a joint statement from both CEO's. "We maintain that combining two of Rockford's three health care sytems into one is in alignment with the mandate presented by health care reform and is the best means to promote and ensure healthy competition in the marketplace."

A hearing is scheduled in Washington, DC for April 17.

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