Physician Competition Attorney
The healthcare industry has always been a study in contrasts. For example, technological innovation has made it easier for physicians to offer many procedures on an outpatient basis that once required a hospital stay. While this is good news for patients, it is bad news for established hospitals that rely on such procedures as “cash cows.”
In response to the growth of these new, physician-owned surgical centers, some hospitals have resorted to conduct that is not simply dishonest but also illegal. Federal antitrust laws are in place to protect both consumers and competitors from entrenched interests that seek to abuse their market power. If you are a physician-owned practice that has been the target for such abuses, you need to speak with the physician competition attorneys at the Law Offices of George M. Sanders P.C.
Our attorneys have more than two decades of experience in litigating complex antitrust cases. We specialize in the health care industry. This means we know how to assess potentially anti-competitive actions affecting health care providers and offer advice on the appropriate steps to take.
Fighting Back When Hospitals Go Too Far
The Sherman Antitrust Act is the key antitrust law that bans “unreasonable” acts in “restraint of trade.” Understanding the line between normal business competition and anti-competitive restraint is not always simple. Some acts are considered “per se” illegal, such as price-fixing agreements or group boycotts. But there are other more subtle ways to abuse market power that may not be fully uncovered unless and until there is antitrust litigation.
For instance, many hospitals and insurance companies sign “exclusive” contracts that discourage or outright prevent insured patients from seeking treatment at competing facilities, such as physician-owned surgical centers. Such contracts are not necessarily illegal. But federal courts have said that if there are “long-term” deals in place that lead to a “destruction of competition” within the local health care market, that may constitute an antitrust violation. Along similar lines, if hospitals pressure or threaten physicians who refer patients to other providers, that may also constitute an abuse of market power under the Sherman Act.
Physician practice groups also need to be concerned with the possibility of insurers using the antitrust laws against them. In recent years federal regulators, working with the insurance industry, have taken legal action against a number of independent practice associations for allegedly engaging in “price fixing” simply by trying to negotiate reimbursement rates and other contractual terms. A qualified physician competition attorney can help fight for your rights in the event of such litigation.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Us Today
Uncovering illegal and anti-competitive conduct in the health care industry is rarely simple. It often takes months of careful investigation–and potentially years of litigation–to address the full scope of a defendant’s liability. This is why you need to work with the Law Offices of George M. Sanders P.C. Our team of qualified physician competition attorneys know the law and the health care industry. Call us today at (312) 624-7642 to schedule a free consultation.