Hartford HealthCare must face rival's antitrust suit, judge rules

A district judge on Fed. 13 denied Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare's bid to dismiss an antitrust suit that claims the seven-hospital system aimed to "crush" a regional competitor by acquiring medical practices and bullying physicians into referral agreements, according to the Hartford Courant

The lawsuit, filed by Hartford-based St. Francis Hospital — a Trinity Health of New England affiliate — in early 2022, claims that Hartford HealthCare drove up costs and captured 60 to 80 percent of the specialty care market by excluding, acquiring and intimidating the competition.

The judge ruled in favor of Hartford HealthCare in two of the lawsuit's contentions — one of which alleged the system used anticompetitive practices by not participating in tiered group insurance plans that provide beneficiaries with an incentive to seek cost savings, according to court documents

But the judge allowed the case to move forward, arguing that it's "plausible" that Hartford HealthCare took advantage of its status as the largest system in central Connecticut — which makes it a must-have for insurance networks — to avoid competing on price or quality,, Bloomberg reported. 

"We are pleased that the court dismissed one of the two core legal theories put forth by St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, one of almost 90 hospitals across the nation run by Michigan-based Trinity Health," a spokesperson for Hartford HealthCare told Becker's. "We continue to maintain that this lawsuit has no merit and distorts the many ways in which Hartford HealthCare serves our communities. We will defend ourselves against these baseless allegations while we remain focused on providing the highest quality care to the patients and communities that we have the privilege of serving."

The ruling comes months after the Federal Trade Commission announced that it will take a firmer stance and ramp up legal challenges against behavior that it deems anticompetitive. 

Click here to read the full ruling.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months