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Comments taken on West Virginia proposed hospital acquisition

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — The public can comment on Cabell Huntington Hospital’s proposed acquisition of St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says the public comment period runs through April 18. The attorney general’s office will review the comments in conjunction with the state Health Care Authority.

Last month Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill to exempt the acquisition from state and federal antitrust laws if a cooperative agreement is approved by the Health Care Authority and Morrisey’s office.

The Federal Trade Commission in November opposed the merger, saying it would raise costs and lower health care quality by creating a monopoly.

In November 2014, Cabell Huntington agreed to assume control of St. Mary’s after the Pallottine Missionary Sisters ended their sponsorship of the hospital after 90 years.