Appeals court allows Albany hospital merger

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A federal appeals court has ruled that Albany's Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital can buy Palmyra Medical Center.

The Albany Herald reports that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision that said the sale was not subject to federal antitrust oversight.

The Federal Trade Commission had appealed the lower court ruling. The commission argued that Phoebe Putney and Hospital Corporation of America, Palmyra's parent company, were using the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County to conceal their actions from federal scrutiny.

Phoebe Putney CEO Joel Wernick said Friday he's eager to move forward with the consolidation of the two hospitals.

The FTC said in a statement Friday that it is concerned the deal will raise health care costs in Albany and said it is considering its options.

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