California DOJ denies Merger between Adventist Health and St. Joseph Health Systems amid health consumer concerns

In the letter provided by the DOJ, the Department states the decision was based on the merger "having the potential for increased health costs and concerns over access and availability of health care services."
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For immediate release: Thursday, October 31, 2019

For more information, contact:
Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, director of communications, Health Access California, 916-532-2128 (cell)

MERGER WATCH: 

CALIFORNIA DOJ DENIES MERGER BETWEEN ADVENTIST HEALTH AND ST. JOSEPH HEALTH SYSTEMS AMID HEALTH CONSUMER CONCERNS 

  • The CA DOJ rejected the merger on the grounds that it is not in the public interest having the potential to negatively impact access to essential hospital services and  further exacerbate rising health care costs due to consolidation.
  • Significant concerns around access to key services and increased costs mirrors those raised by Health Access and other health consumer advocates earlier this year in written and oral testimony against the merger.

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, California’s Department of Justice denied the request for a merger between Adventist Health System/West and St. Joseph Health System. In the letter provided by the DOJ, the Department states the decision was based on the merger “having the potential for increased health costs and concerns over access and availability of health care services.” These specific concerns were raised earlier this year by Health Access and other health care advocates through a letter to the department as well as at public hearings regarding the merger. Consumer advocates asked the DOJ to either require substantial undertakings with any approval, or reject it outright.

“We are pleased that Attorney General Becerra took action to protect consumers and reject this hospital merger, which threatened to reduce access to key services and increase health care costs,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “This Adventist-St. Joseph’s merger raised several red flags, from the maintenance of emergency services to their willingness to provide specific treatment for women and the LGBTQ community. Bigger is not often better with hospital chains and health care in general, as consolidation is closely correlated with much higher costs for consumers.”

On June 7, 2018, Adventist Health System/West and St. Joseph Health System submitted a proposed request to create the ST Network. In the proposal, the ST Network would serve to operate Queen of the Valley Medical Center, Redwood Memorial Hospital, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital-Eureka, Petaluma Valley Hospital, Adventist Health Clearlake Hospital, Adventist Health St. Helena, Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, Adventist Health Howard Memorial, and St. Helena Hospital.

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