Attorney General Labrador Announces Consent Decree With North Idaho Hospitals – Dailyfly

BOISE – Attorney General Raúl Labrador announced a consent decree to complete his investigation into possible violations of Idaho's antitrust laws (the Idaho Competition Act) by Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene and Syringa Hospital and Clinics in Grangeville. The Attorney General's Office launched the investigation in 2023 in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission.

“My office is concerned about the trend of consolidation in Idaho’s healthcare markets,” said Attorney General Labrador. “We are committed to enforcing the laws that protect and promote fair competition in Idaho and are pleased that we have found a solution that addresses our current concerns.”

In 2017, Kootenai Health and Syringa entered into a management agreement whereby Kootenai Health hired and paid Syringa's CEO, making Syringa's CEO an employee of Kootenai Health. Through this agreement, Kootenai Health had access to Syringa's significant competitive non-public information.

Then in 2020, Kootenai Health acquired St. Mary's Health (in Cottonwood) and Clearwater Valley Hospital (in Orofino) from their out-of-state owner. St. Mary's Hospital, about 15 miles away, is Syringa's closest hospital competitor. Following this acquisition, Kootenai Health owned or had a significant relationship with the only two hospitals in Idaho County.

The investigation found that as a result of this relationship between St. Mary's and Syringa, the hospitals may have engaged in conduct that violated the Idaho Competition Act. During the investigation, Kootenai Health and Syringa agreed to terminate the management agreement and, at the direction of the Attorney General, enter into a Consent Decree to provide further protection from possible future violations of the Idaho Competition Act.

The Consent Decree requires, among other things, that Kootenai Health terminate the employment of Syringa's CEO; The hospitals shall terminate any existing agreements, contracts, understandings, collaborations or affiliations between them unless the Attorney General objects. and in the future inform the Attorney General of any proposed agreement, contract, understanding, collaboration or connection between them.

The Consent Decree also prohibits any agreements between restricting competition for labor and exchanging non-public labor information, such as: B. Compensation and Conditions of Employment.

The consent decree was approved by the court.

Anna Harden

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