Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Sues 2 Hospitals, Doctors Cites Group in St. Joseph, Mo

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Sues 2 Hospitals, Doctors Cites Group in St. Joseph, Mo

Article excerpt

The Justice Department charged doctors and hospitals in Missouri and Connecticut Wednesday with using monopoly power to block lower-priced managed health care systems from competing - in one case for almost a decade.

It was the first time the agency's antitrust division filed price-fixing lawsuits accusing hospitals of scheming with doctors to ensure their own higher profit while health-care costs rise.

Both groups - in St. Joseph, Mo., and Danbury, Conn. - denied the charges. But both also agreed to consent decrees in which they promised to change the way they do business.

Under the settlements, doctors and hospitals may not:

Exercise control over staff privileges to reduce competition.

Condition the use of inpatient hospital services on use of outpatient services and certain managed-care plans.

Condition rates for inpatient services on exclusive use of the hospital's outpatient services, except under some circumstances.

Act together to set prices, competitive terms or conditions. …

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