Chicago Health Care Antitrust Attorneys
Physicians face enormous economic and legal challenges in the ever-changing U.S. health care market. Today, many patient care decisions are dictated by third-party payers, including private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid. This not only raises ethical concerns, as physicians struggle to treat patients under the payers’ constraints, but it also imposes significant financial hardship. After all, when payers promise“cost containment,” what they really mean is forcing physicians to do an equal or greater amount of work for lower compensation.
At the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., we have spent more than 20 dealing with these issues. Our skilled Chicago health care antitrust attorneys focus on helping physicians compete more effectively in the marketplace. From assisting physicians with forming networks and joint ventures to taking on anti-competitive conduct by hospitals, our goal is to make sure the antitrust laws work for you, not against you.
How Do Antitrust Laws Affect Health Care?
Antitrust represents the intersection of law and economics. The antitrust laws include a variety of federal statutes, regulations, case law, and policy statements that ban certain conduct as “anti-competitive,” or harmful to consumers and the functioning of the market as a whole.
Here are the principal antitrust statutes and how they can affect physicians:
- The Sherman Act bans collusion between competitors that “unreasonably” restrains trade. “Competitors” in this context often includes physicians who practice in the same specialty and geographic market. For example, if a majority of the ophthalmologists in DuPage County, Illinois, refused as a group to deal with a particular insurer, that could be considered an unreasonable restraint of trade under the Sherman Act. But if these same doctors formed an integrated network that benefits patients, such as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), it could survive a potential antitrust challenge.
- The Clayton Act prohibits mergers that tend to “substantially lessen” competition. If an ACO is formed by merging several existing physician groups, for instance, that could trigger a Clayton Act review by the U.S. Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes the FTC to identify and prohibit “unfair” methods of competition. In many cases, the FTC Act overlaps with the Sherman and Clayton Acts. Together with the DOJ, the FTC also maintains industry-specific guidelines for health care providers that seek to form joint ventures and networks.
How We Can Help You
The Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., focuses on antitrust litigation in the following areas:
- Physician Competition – Physicians are not always on the defensive when it comes to antitrust. Many times it is the hospitals and other established health care providers that engage in anti-competitive conduct, especially against physician-owned health care centers. If you have been unable to effectively serve patients because of a competitor’s illegal conduct, we can bring an antitrust lawsuit on your behalf.
- Peer Review – Similarly, many hospitals abuse the credentialing and peer review process to retaliate against physicians who they view as potential competitors. Such conduct is unethical and illegal, and we can advise you on the proper steps to take.
Contact Us Today
Health care depends on specialists who spend years learning and perfecting their craft. Antitrust law is no different. The Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., understands the particular antitrust needs of physicians and the health care industry. Let us put that expertise to work for you. Call us today at (312) 624-7642 to schedule a consultation.