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NorthShore University Health System, Advocate Health Care face FTC grilling over proposed Chicago merger

Systems have said that they would likely nix the merger if the government wins its injunction.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Advocate Health Care and the NorthShore University Health System will square off against the Federal Trade Commission in federal court in Chicago on Monday as regulators move to block their pending merger.

According to official court documents, the FTC is requesting a preliminary injunction to pause the proposed merger while it determines, through administrative hearings, whether the deal should be allowed to continue.

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Advocate and NorthShore said in documents filed with an FTC administrative judge that they would likely not continue to push for the merger if the government wins the injunction.

At the heart of the injunction request are allegations from the FTC that the deal would result in the new, combined company controlling over half of general-acute inpatient hospital services in Chicago's north suburbs, leading to higher prices and possibly, lower quality care. In filings, the systems claim that the FTC misidentified the market.

Advocate owns 11 hospitals and a two-campus children's hospital, while NorthShore owns four hospitals in Cook and Lake Counties.

Twitter: @JELagasse