DOJ Antitrust Settlement Requires North Carolina Physician Group To Disband
On December 13th, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice announced that it will require Mountain Health Care, an independent physicians organization headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, to cease its operations and dissolve. The Department said that under a proposed settlement, Mountain Health Care will cease negotiating and contracting with health care plans on behalf of its participating physicians, a practice DOJ said resulted in consumers paying increased prices to Mountain Health Care's physician members for health care services.
Click here for the DOJ complaint, stipulation to final judgment, and competitive impact statement.
According to the DOJ complaint filed in federal district court in connection with the settlement, Mountain Health Care restrained price and other forms of competition among physicians in Western North Carolina by adopting a uniform fee schedule for its physicians. Mountain Health Care agreed to contracts with managed care purchasers that incorporated the collectively set fees. These actions resulted in higher rates charged to health plans leading to higher health costs for ultimate consumers, DOJ said.
More details are available at the Antitrust Division website. http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2002/200552.htm
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