North Carolina Attorney General“Your input was shared with the attorneys in our office who were in the midst of conducting a thorough review of this proposed affiliation.“ – North Carolina Attorney General’s office


Last month, Checks & Balances Project (C&BP) asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to review the proposed, $11.5 billion merger between Sentara Healthcare and Cone Health of North Carolina. C&BP cited Sentara’s use of lobbyists to influence Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need (COPN) process to block competitors from developing services in which Sentara dominates the southeastern Virginia market.

The FTC needed to investigate the proposed merger, C&BP wrote, in part because Sentara’s use of the discredited Certificate Of Public Need (COPN) process to weaken its remaining competitors – specifically, Bon Secours DePaul Hospital and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.

C&BP copied the attorneys general of North Carolina and Virginia – Democrats Josh Stein and Mark Herring – on the correspondence to the FTC.

North Carolina Attorney General’s Office Replies to C&BP

Stein’s office replied, thanking us for “taking the time to write to the North Carolina Department of Justice and sharing your perspective regarding the Cone Health/Sentara Healthcare business combination.”

“Your input was shared with the attorneys in our office who were in the midst of conducting a thorough review of this proposed affiliation when Cone Health and Sentara decided not to move forward with their transaction. However, Attorney General Stein continues to be concerned about the wave of hospital consolidations and health care costs, and will continue to look into these issues.”

Questionable Sentara Practices

Since November, C&BP highlighted in its reporting:

C&BP’s series of investigative stories and the scrutiny from North Carolina Attorney General Stein were followed by the surprise ending of the long-proposed merger.


Ray Locker is enterprise and investigative editor of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.


You may also want to read:

“A monopoly position is not enough – Sentara also seeks to eliminate competitors”

Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need Process Needs a Road Map

5 Things To Know About Certificate of Public Need Laws

Attorney Jamie B. Martin Was “Legal Advisor” to COPN Reform Group — But Didn’t Publicly Disclose Sentara Connection

Judge Ruled for Sentara, Once Represented the Company with Sentara’s Lawyer