Antitrust Lawsuit Columbia SC
In 1975, the Supreme Court ruled that antitrust laws apply to “learned professions” like doctors and lawyers. Since then, physicians need to pay close attention when they are considering arrangements with other doctors that could help them from a business standpoint. Believe it or not, the healthcare field is the area that sees among the most antitrust cases and actions filed, both in court and by the government.
Working with Other Doctors Could Lead to Lawsuits if You Are Not Careful
At the same time, doctors are facing more threats than ever to their business from health insurance companies and hospitals. They seem to be squeezed on all sides. Oftentimes, the most effective thing is for them to work together in some way to take advantage of their own power. However, the prospect of “working together” raises issues with antitrust laws that aim to maximize competition.
The Department of Justice has its own antitrust guidelines for the healthcare field. The concept of combining into a physicians’ network is not illegal. However, there are strict guidelines that must be followed:
- Price fixing is not allowed
- You cannot sign up too many providers
- Physicians must share risk
Within these requirements, there are many types of proposed arrangements that could be legal if they are properly structured. Before you agree to form or become part of a physicians’ network or change the details of an existing one, you should consult with an antitrust attorney. Not only would the DOJ have a possible interest, but the state attorney general could also aggressively enforce laws. You may find yourself faced with an antitrust lawsuit.
Filing an Antitrust Lawsuit Against Hospitals
On the flip side, doctors also face antitrust issues where they are on the receiving end of conduct from hospitals. Simply stated, hospitals do not like competition. They will often do everything that they can to discourage it, going to the point of retaliating against doctors who try to encroach on their turf.
Hospitals have some illegal tricks up their sleeves, especially when doctors try to compete against them by forming or joining outpatient surgery centers. These can include:
- Denying practicing privileges to doctors who compete with them
- Grading them down on peer reviews, effectively denying them privileges
- Forcing very restrictive non-compete agreements on doctors as a condition for privileges
As a physician, you may need to take legal action to protect yourself. Whether it is reporting the violation to the government or filing a lawsuit against the hospital, you must fight to protect your own rights. First, you must know that the hospital is doing something illegal. An experienced antitrust attorney could review your situation and let you know your legal options for protecting yourself.
It seems like practicing medicine is hard enough these days without even having to think about antitrust laws. However, these are things that you have to worry about because the DOJ does. These laws do not have to stand in your way when you have an attorney who can help you get business done while following antitrust rules.
Attorneys Helping Clients With Antitrust Lawsuits in Columbia SC
At the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, we are a counselor and resource for doctors who are seeking to navigate the competitive landscape. Contact us today to discuss your particular business with us.