Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The citizens of Loudoun get the screwing of their lives

HCA's Broadlands Regional Medical Center was voted down today. The good guys: Miller, York, Burton and McGimmsey.
The selfish @%$ who thought (wrongly) that they could strongarm a hospital on Rt. 50 instead: Burk, Kurtz.
And then those who covered themselves in an empty Comp Plan argument:
Buckley, Waters
And then the sadly comical and totally "say one thing, but do another":

Most of the attributes of the argument are here.
Some of the later arguments will be pulled out and autopsied tomorrow.

Overall, the vote was FOR the SUPERVISORS and AGAINST us.

Wait till we get some more credible info on the FTC coming to INOVA Loudoun like they did in INOVA Prince William !!

Speaking of the Federal Trade Commission:
This was the press release for INOVA's last local overreach.
Another case is easy to find when you plug in "Hospital, FTC and "divest" into a google search.
One entry in particular comes up pretty far in the results. Long and short of that case is: Hospital gets too big, runs out competition and gets smacked down with an order to divest some of their holdings to give the State some competition between entities.

For Release: May 9, 2008

FTC and Virginia Attorney General Seek to Block Inova Health System Foundation’s Acquisition of Prince William Health System
Transaction Would Reduce Competition and Result in Higher Health Care Prices in Northern Virginia

By a unanimous vote, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a complaint challenging the proposed acquisition by Inova Health System Foundation (Inova) of Prince William Health System, Inc. (PWHS) and authorized the staff to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in federal district court to block the deal pending a full administrative trial on the merits. The action in federal district court will be brought jointly with the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The administrative complaint charges that the proposed acquisition would violate the federal antitrust laws by reducing competition for general acute care inpatient hospital services in Northern Virginia. The complaint further charges that as a result of the merger consumers in Northern Virginia will pay higher prices and lose the benefits of non-price competition.
According to the FTC, the acquisition of independent PWHS by Inova, the largest hospital system in Northern Virginia and PWHS’s closest competitor, would eliminate the significant, existing price and non-price competition between them in offering hospital services to the community.
“There is no question that Northern Virginia residents have benefitted from the robust competition between Inova and Prince William Hospital through better services and lower prices,” said Jeffrey Schmidt, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “If Inova acquires Prince William Health System, this vital competition will be lost, health care prices will increase, and many residents will be forced to accept reduced health care coverage or no coverage at all.”
The Proposed Transaction
On August 1, 2006, Inova and PWHS entered into an agreement under which PWHS would merge into Inova, the largest hospital system in Northern Virginia. Absent FTC action, the parties may consummate the merger this month.
PWHS, a non-profit corporation based in Manassas, Virginia, operates one general acute care hospital in Northern Virginia, Prince William Hospital, which has 180 licensed beds. PWHS primarily serves consumers in western Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.
Inova, a non-profit corporation based in Falls Church, Virginia, is by far the largest hospital system in Northern Virginia. It owns five hospitals in the region, which together have nearly 1,900 licensed beds: Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church; Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria; Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax; Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg; and Mt. Vernon Hospital in Alexandria.
After the merger, Inova would control approximately 73 percent of the licensed beds in Northern Virginia and six separate hospitals. Only four independent hospitals would remain: Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton; Reston Hospital Center in Reston; Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington; and Potomac Hospital in Woodbridge.
The Commission's Complaint
The FTC’s complaint charges that Inova’s proposed merger with PWHS would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended. According to the Commission, Inova and PWHS currently are close competitors in Northern Virginia for the provision of general acute care inpatient services. The complaint alleges that the relevant geographic market is Northern Virginia, including Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, as well as the independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park. According to the FTC, hospitals outside Northern Virginia do not compete with Inova and PWHS, as relatively few patients in Northern Virginia travel to Maryland or Washington, DC for general acute care inpatient services.
Competition between hospitals is vital in constraining health care costs to consumers and ensuring high-quality services. The complaint charges that because of the close competition between Inova and PWHS, particularly between PWHS and the nearby Inova facilities of Fairfax and Fair Oaks, health plans are able to negotiate to keep health care prices down, most significantly at PWHS. The existence of independent, competitive alternatives provides health plans with the threat of substituting alternatives during negotiations with a hospital.
The merger would eliminate this competitive constraint and potential alternative for health plans, leading to significant price increases at PWHS and incremental price increases at Inova. The complaint alleges that these price increases would lead to higher health care costs for employers, health plan enrollees, and consumers in Northern Virginia, especially in the area nearest PWHS. Because many smaller employers cannot afford to pay higher prices for health care coverage, their employees will suffer the consequences from less health care insurance and forego the care they can no longer afford.
The Commission voted 3-0, with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch not participating, to issue the administrative complaint. The issuance of the complaint is the first step in the administrative trial process. Inova and PWHS will be offered FTC’s “Fast Track” administrative trial procedure. Chairman William E. Kovacic and Commissioners Pamela Jones Harbour and Jon Leibowitz are committed, subject to the bounds of reasonableness and fairness, to a just and expeditious resolution of any potential appeal that may be taken to the full Commission. Should there be an appeal, the commissioners commit to make every effort to issue an appellate decision approximately 90 days after receiving a notice of appeal (assuming no cross-appeal) or 120 days (assuming a cross-appeal).
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction blocking the transaction pending the administrative trial also was 3-0, with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch not participating. The complaint will be filed jointly by the FTC and the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria. It will be available on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release upon filing. The administrative complaint is available now on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release.
NOTE: The Commission issues or files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the named parties have violated the law.
The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action.

To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust@ftc.gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Room 394, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs

Matthew J. Reilly,
Bureau of Competition


Tired of Good Ole Boys & Girls said...

This Board rode in on a mantra of bringing economic development to Loudoun County. What a joke. $4million dollars annually down the drain. Hold on to your wallets because there is no where else for the dollars to come from other than those foolish citizens who believed that drivel.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Unfortunately, TOGOBAG, We'll all pay for that mistake. Literally.
With Commercial business closing up shop and more and more going out of business, you'd think that the EDC Supervisor would have signaled an "open for Business" message to other Fortune 100 companies who were watching.
Anyone who thinks that another Fortune 100 company would come within 5 miles of Loudoun needs their heads examined.

I used five miles on purpose. You see, like the Redskins Deal, Fairfax is still open for business.

As you indicate, I want all Loudoun's citizens to realize that a few self-absorbed idiots just sent their property taxes soaring in a single sweeping pissing contest.

Stephen G. Nichols and The Clue said...

It's just too bad that Aldie isn't incorporated, so we could do our own zoning and welcome HCA out here -- and collect all that tax money ourselves.
Of course, Monk, if you and the rest of your so-called Posse hadn't stumped the BoS and had let them put those 34,000 homes here like they wanted to do, we'd already have all the population we'd need for another hospital. Thanks a lot, kids. It looks like that plan of yours backfired and now we'll just have to live in the peaceful country. (Oh, wait. Did I forget to sound the sarcasm alert?!? Sorry.) [With a wink and a nod to certain folks in SR.]
Well, Monk, at least we have one last possibility. Do you reckon that Mr. Miller will be able to twist whatever arms are necessary to get his reconsideration and then get the 5 needed for approval?
I'm getting this eerie sense of deja vu as I watch a BoS that was elected on promises of listening to the citizenry and promoting economic growth outside of the residential developer sector sink into the depths of arcane, manufatured "legal" arguments and disregard what they want to disregard without benefit of reason. C'est la guerre!
Are you ready to mount up? 'Cause it looks like there's serious work to be done again.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

You'd better grab your horse and catch up, pard-ner.
There's an e-mail link in the attached story for the Bureau of Competition. I'm confirming that the e-mail and number are current, and then we'll orchestrate a county-wide request to light up the switchboard there and trigger a response from the Bureau.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that there are serious talks about the following two follow up actions:

1) Ordinary resident (who support the BRMC project) getting in touch with several lawfirms to file suit against the BoS vote.

2) If HCA moves forward with their pending lawsuit, several hundred county residents will be happy to be co-plantiffs.

Either way the input of the FTC could add to the veracity of proposed actions/

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Wow. I haven't heard anything about this particular development. As I posted in another thread, I have heard the rumblings from the citizenry about contacting the FTC.

I'm interested, and will follow it if you care to share details in an e-mail back-channel. And of course, I will keep sensitive portions off of the blog, until I have received the same info from numerous reputable sources. (I am not saying your info isn't reputable...I'm saying I'd like numerous confirmations before it goes live.)