Lawsuit alleges San Ramon hospital deal would cost patients

The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit Friday to block John Muir Health's $142.5 million deal to purchase San Ramon Regional Medical Center.

The lawsuit alleges it would be a bad deal for patients who would end up paying more for health care. John Muir Health is a not-for-profit corporation based out of Walnut Creek.

San Ramon Regional Medical Center is currently owned in part by Tenet Healthcare Corporation and operates in both Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

The FTC claimed in a statement the deal would make it possible for John Muir Health to charge patients higher rates for inpatient care, by eliminating direct competition between John Muir and San Ramon Regional.

"San Ramon Regional Medical Center has played an important role in ensuring Californians in the I-680 corridor have access to quality, affordable care for critical health care services, such as cardiac surgery and childbirth," Henry Liu, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition said in a statement. "John Muir’s acquisition of San Ramon Medical would increase already high health care costs in the area and threaten to stall quality improvements that help advance care for all patients."

The lawsuit alleged John Muir Health would control more than half of the market for inpatient care in the area.