Augusta Physician Competition Attorneys
The advantages of competition are profound in any economic sector. It forces companies to innovate, evolve, introduce new ideas into the marketplace, and maintain affordable pricing. Schemes to restrict competition, particularly in the healthcare industry, threaten the interests of providers and their patients. Despite the existence of federal laws and their Georgia counterparts that protect physician competition, officials can be slow to act. There are multiple challenges with applying the complex statutes to the even more complicated realities of the healthcare industry.
If you are a physician or stakeholder in a medical center, you do have legal options to address abuses of market power and antitrust violations. At the Law Offices of George M. Sanders P.C., our physician competition lawyers have been representing clients in physician competition cases for more than 20 years, assisting them through the complex legal process. Our team’s core competency is antitrust law, specifically on anticompetitive practices in the healthcare industry. Please call our office at (312) 624-7642 to set up a consultation about your case, and read on for some general information on physician competition claims in Augusta, GA.
Confronting Unfair Practices
Federal antitrust laws, such as the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Act, prohibit the formation of monopolies and other restraints on trade when they serve to stifle competition. The US Department of Justice, Antitrust Division is tasked with enforcement against offenders, who could be subject to criminal and civil penalties. In addition, individuals can file a private lawsuit to recover monetary damages and seek injunctive relief.
While the state has not enacted a specific antitrust law, there is a Georgia statute regarding illegal and void contracts, unfair competition, and deceptive acts in restraint of trade. The legal scheme that supplements the federal laws, so healthcare providers and practices can also pursue a private action to recover compensation for their losses. It is even possible to sue at the same time a federal case is pending.
Indications of Anticompetitive Restraints of Trade
It can be challenging to distinguish between robust physician competition and business practices that violate antitrust laws. One disturbing trend that has developed as a means of restraining trade is abuses of the peer review process in hospitals. Handled properly, peer reviews enable better patient care. Misconduct, such as retaliating against a provider who competes against the hospital, is illegal anticompetitive conduct.
Other forms of unfair restraints include:
- Price-fixing agreements;
- Exclusive contracts;
- Monopolistic mergers;
- Use of threats or intimidation when physicians refer patients to competing facilities; and,
- Many other forms of conspiracy or collusion that stifle physician competition in the Augusta, GA local healthcare market.
Schedule a Consultation with an Augusta Physician Competition Attorney
Addressing illegal, anticompetitive conduct in the Augusta, GA healthcare sector requires thorough assessment of the circumstances and in-depth knowledge of the antitrust laws governing physician competition. Working with a skilled attorney is essential, as uncovering the magnitude of a defendant’s unlawful scheme is an intensely meticulous process. For more information, please call the Law Offices of George M. Sanders P.C. at (312) 624-7642 or check out our website. We can schedule a consultation with one of our experienced physician competition lawyers.