Chris Raphaely, co-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Health Care practice group, discusses a House-passed bill known as the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act in Modern Healthcare. Many health care industry leaders hope that the bill will make it easier for hospitals to merge without cumbersome antitrust challenges. The SMARTER Act hopes to create complementary processes for the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to challenge mergers. Chris says, “If the bill passes, it’s possible fewer hospitals would abandon mergers if they lose against the FTC at the preliminary injunction stage. More hospitals may choose to continue fighting in court if they know they don’t have to first go through administrative hearings for merger deals at the FTC, which can take as long as two years.” Chris adds that, “In a world of transactions where time is of the essence, to put everything on hold through that longer process is often difficult and often ends up in the proposed merger being abandoned simply because of a loss at the preliminary injunction stage and other issues unrelated to the merits of the case.”
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