“First do no harm” was meant for physicians to protect their patients, but who protects physicians from anticompetitive actions taken by hospitals?
Markets are constantly adjusting and changing. Some changes are driven by new technology, some by improved practices, some by nothing more than an idea that shows the older way of doing things was inefficient. In the health care area, a major development over the last 20 years is the dramatic increase in the number of procedures that physicians can perform on an outpatient basis. This has led to the emergence of a relatively new competitor in facility markets – the physician-owned surgery center.
Surgery centers have become a significant competitive force in the health care marketplace. While hospitals themselves open stand-alone outpatient centers, they have certainly recognized the competitive threat created by physician-owned surgery centers. As more and more physicians try to establish surgery centers or other types of facilities that compete against hospitals, they have had to face a wide range of responses from hospitals. Sometimes these responses do not represent fair competition, but are instead anticompetitive actions designed to destroy a competitive threat. When this happens, the physician trying to open and operate a surgery center, and his or her patients, are injured.
One of the critical roles played by the antitrust laws is the protection of new competitors that take on powerful and well-established firms (including hospitals). While well-established firms have a right to compete against firms trying to enter a market, the established firms cannot use anticompetitive actions to insulate themselves from competition. At the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C. we have extensive experience distinguishing legitimate competitive efforts from anticompetitive conduct and representing physicians in litigation when they are met with anticompetitive actions as a result of their efforts to compete against a well-established and powerful hospital.
The Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C. has been providing legal advice and litigating on behalf of physicians for years. You may contact us at 312-624-7645 or through email.