Legislators Defend Cabell-Huntington St. Mary's Merger
Cabell Huntington Hospital wants to buy St. Mary’s Medical Center. The Herald-Dispatch reports that the West Virginia Health Care Authority has granted a certificate of need, meaning the authority deems the combination of the two Huntington hospitals is needed and consistent with the state's health care goals.
The two hospitals separately are the largest employers in Huntington, with nearly 5,000 employees between them. They are also each among the top ten largest employers in the state.
But the Federal Trade Commission has blocked the acquisition, citing concerns that the merger would create a medical monopoly, raising prices and lowering care quality.
West Virginia lawmakers disagree, saying the merger benefits West Virginians. They've passed legislation aimed at bringing consumer regulation back into state hands. That bill now sits on Governor Tomblin’s desk. Appalachia Health News’ Kara Lofton sat down with Senator Robert Plymale and Brian Gallagher, counsel for Marshall Health, to discuss what the merger might mean for West Virginia.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.