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March 9, 2017

Around the nation: Advocate Health, NorthShore University HealthSystem call off merger

Daily Briefing
    • Illinois: Advocate Health and NorthShore University HealthSystem on Tuesday announced they would not pursue a merger proposed in 2014 after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the agreement. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso reverses his original 2016 decision in which he denied the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) request for a preliminary injunction. The case was remanded back to Alonso by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that his original decision not to block the merger based on antitrust concerns was "erroneously flawed." NorthShore CEO Mark Neaman said, "We have determined with the Advocate Health Care leadership that the time, cost, and uncertainty of pursuing any additional appeals would not be worthwhile" (Sweeney, Crain's Chicago Business/Modern Healthcare, 3/7; Rege, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/7).

    • Texas: Former Vice President Joe Biden will be a featured speaker at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas. Biden, slated to speak on March 12, will discuss progress made during his leadership of the White House Cancer Moonshot, as well as his plans for a future cancer initiative. Hugh Forrest, the conference's chief programming officer, said Biden's "commitment and leadership is crucial at a time when the smartest minds from the worlds of technology and health care are working together to create groundbreaking new solutions in the battle to end cancer" (Zimmerman, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/7).

    • West Virginia: Deaths from drug overdoses have overwhelmed West Virginia's indigent burial program for the fifth year in a row. The program allocates $2 million per year to provide funeral assistance for families who cannot otherwise afford such services, granting an average of $1,250 per burial. Allison Adler, a spokesperson for state Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch, said in the current fiscal year, "1,508 burials have been submitted for payment through the indigent burial program. There are funds remaining for 63 additional burials." The Washington Post's "Wonkblog" reports that the state ran out of funds for the program in FY 2014 by June and in FY2015 by March (Ingraham, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 3/7).

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