CHICAGO - Ohio's Promedica Health System Inc. must divest itself of a hospital after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the hospital system's appeal to a lower court ruling blocking the merger.

Toledo-based Promedica had asked the nation's top court to consider its appeal to an April 2014 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati.

The ruling, from a three-judge panel of the appeals court, upheld a 2011 challenge by the Federal Trade Commission to the 2010 merger between Promedica, a leading health care system in northwest Ohio, and struggling St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee, Ohio, a Toledo suburb.

The panel unanimously agreed with the FTC that the combination would be anticompetitive and lead to higher health-care costs in Lucas County.

Promedica filed a petition appealing the ruling with the Supreme Court in December 2014.

The court announced its decision May 4.

The final ruling signals the end to Promedica's long battle to overturn the FTC's ruling. The hospital will divest St. Luke's over the next six months with FTC oversight, according to a report in the Toledo Blade.

"St. Luke's is in a much better place than it was five years ago when the hospital joined Promedica," the system said in a statement. "St. Luke's will begin this new chapter in its history from a position of strength."

Some of the system's bonds with a 5% coupon and 2022 maturity were yielding 2.5% in May 4 trading, up from 2% in late-April trading, according to the Electronic Municipal Market Access website. Moody's Investors Service has an Aa3 rating and stable outlook on the system.

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