The AHA yesterday urged the Federal Trade Commission to continue any administrative proceedings involving the proposed combination of Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth until after a federal appeals court issues a decision in the matter. “Having lost its case in a federal district court, the FTC should not now re-litigate the case in administrative proceedings at great cost to the hospitals – particularly when the Third Circuit’s expedited appeal could resolve the entire matter in a relatively short period of time,” wrote Melinda Reid Hatton, AHA senior vice president and general counsel. A federal district judge last month denied the FTC’s request to stop the merger while it completes an administrative trial, concluding that patients “stand to gain much from a combined entity” and that the agency’s antitrust claims were based on an “unrealistically narrow” four-county market. AHA said the case “demonstrates the reasons why SMARTER Act reforms are both necessary and urgent.”