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Legal battle continues for midstate health system merger

Penn State Hershey and PinnacleHealth System head to court Monday

Derry Township-based Penn State Hershey and Harrisburg-based PinnacleHealth System are scheduled for a court date on Monday as part of their battle to complete a merger.

A hearing for a preliminary injunction is scheduled to begin Monday, despite efforts from the health systems to delay the process, according to Federal Trade Commission dockets.

The hearing is expected to close by Friday, but there is no time frame for when a decision will be made.

Monday is the first of two court dates set. The second trial is scheduled for May 17 in the FTC’s administrative court.

The legal battle started late in 2015 when the FTC and the state attorney general filed a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent Penn State and PinnacleHealth from coming together.

Officials argued that the combined health systems would dominate 64 percent of the Harrisburg-area market, which could affect more than 500,000 local residents and patients, according to the FTC.

At that time, Penn State Hershey and PinnacleHealth decided to fight the FTC, stating that a merger between the two largest health systems in the midstate would be best for the region.

“We firmly believe that the combination of our two health systems is the right thing to do, and we are committed to seeing it through. Our efforts are about the big picture to serve the best interests of the region for the long term,” said Michael A. Young, president and CEO of PinnacleHealth.

Lenay Ruhl

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