In the wake of an FTC lawsuit, RWJBarnabas Health announced that it will not proceed with its proposed deal to acquire Saint Peter’s Healthcare System. Subsequently, HCA Healthcare and Steward Health Care System scrapped their plan to acquire five Utah hospitals.

As Healthcare Dive reported:

The FTC alleged RWJBarnabas and Saint Peter’s were head-to-head competitors, primarily in the central part of the state in Middlesex County, where Saint Peter’s hospital is less than a mile from RWJ’s flagship campus, RWJ-New Brunswick.

The current competition between the two “incentivizes them to keep prices lower and quality of care higher than they would absent this competition,” according to the administrative complaint.

Becker’s Hospital Review further highlighted:

“This transaction, like the RWJBarnabas Health/Saint Peter’s transaction that was abandoned two days ago, should never have been proposed in the first place. This should be a lesson learned to hospital systems all over the country and their counsel: The FTC will not hesitate to take action in enforcing the antitrust laws to protect healthcare consumers who are faced with unlawful hospital consolidation.”

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA announced plans to acquire five Utah hospitals from Dallas-based Steward Health Care in September. Under the proposed acquisition, the five hospitals would become part of HCA Healthcare’s mountain division, which has 11 hospitals throughout Utah, Idaho and Alaska. The FTC alleged the acquisition would eliminate the second-and fourth-largest healthcare systems in Utah’s Wasatch Front region, where approximately 80 percent of the state’s residents live.