Advocate, NorthShore merger blocked

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Lee B. Sacks, MD, CEO of Advocate Physician Partners (from left), Jim Skogsbergh, president and CEO of Advocate Health Care, Mark R. Neaman, president and CEO of NorthShore University HealthSystem and Joseph Golbus, MD, president of NorthShore University HealthSystem Medical Group, met with the Sun-Times Editorial Board last year to discuss their proposed merger. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

The merger of Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem was blocked Monday by a federal appeals court.

NorthShore and Advocate struck an agreement to create Advocate NorthShore Health Partners in September 2014. The combined operation would serve 3 million patients a year and be the state’s largest integrated health care delivery system and the nation’s 11th largest not-for-profit health care system.

The Federal Trade Commission in December ruled against the proposed merger, saying it could hurt

competition and lead to higher prices in the region.

In a joint statement, the health care systems said they were disappointed by the ruling.

“We believe that blocking this merger will be a loss to consumers and further underscores the conflicting message with the objectives of the Affordable Care Act. While our legal teams review the decision, we remain confident our merger would lower costs and improve outcomes for consumers,” Advocate and NorthShore said.

A federal district judge in June denied a preliminary injunction preventing the merger. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday reversed the district court ruling and sent the case back to the district court.

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