Patients v. Hospitals: Why define markets at all if every market satisfies the SSNIP Test?

June 10, 2022
Hospital, Surgical light, on

Hospital merger cases are won or lost on geographic market definition. The Third Circuit’s recent finding that it is appropriate to define geographic markets based on patient location will likely incentivize the FTC to define such geographic markets more frequently in future hospital merger litigations. In this article published in the May 2022 edition of the CPI Antirust Chronicle, CRA’s Steven Tenn and Jones Day’s Ken Field consider the implications of defining a geographic market based on patient location and highlight a key shortcoming of this approach: since virtually any candidate geographic market based on patient location likely passes the Merger Guidelines’ Hypothetical Monopolist Test, any such conclusion is essentially meaningless and addresses an issue largely irrelevant to whether a proposed merger is likely anticompetitive. Consequently, the FTC’s reliance on patient-based markets could erode a key advantage that the FTC currently enjoys in hospital merger litigations: the courts’ willingness to endorse the Merger Guidelines’ presumption that mergers that sufficiently increase concentration are anticompetitive.

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  • Ken Field
    Antitrust Partner and Co-Chair of Jones Day's global Health Care and Life Sciences Practice