Jefferson Health walked back its stance that Einstein Health Network’s flagship hospital is at risk of financial failure without a merger during the first day of arguments at a trial, according to Law360.
The Federal Trade Commission’s legal challenge to block the proposed merger of Einstein Healthcare Network and Jefferson Health started in court Sept. 14. The FTC argues that combining the two Philadelphia-based systems would reduce competition in the Philadelphia region and Montgomery County.
In response to the legal challenge, Jefferson Health and Einstein argued that the merger is a matter of survival for Einstein’s flagship hospital.
The health systems argued that Einstein, which has only had annual operating profits twice since 2012, is on a path to financial failure without the deal and needs $500 million to invest in key capital projects and deferred maintenance. Further, the organizations said that without the infusion, Einstein will continue to weaken “as it is forced to cut services or close facilities.”
However, at day one of the trial, Jefferson Health CFO Peter DeAngelis conceded during arguments that Jefferson had no evidence that Einstein is in danger of insolvency, despite painting the finances as bleak, according to Law360.
The hearing on the preliminary injunction is expected to last the entire week, but a decision won’t happen by the end of the week. An additional round of filings must be submitted by the FTC and the two health systems by Sept. 28. The judge overseeing the case hopes to issue a decision before Jan. 1, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.