Mecklenburg Medical Group: Atrium has yet to give 'substantive response' to lawsuit

A group of Mecklenburg Medical Group physicians claim parent company Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health has yet to provide a "substantive response" to the group's lawsuit, which seeks to sever ties with the health system, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Here are four things to know about the situation.

1. A group of 92 Mecklenburg Medical Group physicians filed a lawsuit April 2 to split with Atrium and operate as an independent organization called Mecklenburg Multispecialty Group. The lawsuit accused Atrium of engaging in monopolistic and anticompetitive behavior.

2. Atrium said the same day the lawsuit was filed it would allow the physicians to break their noncompete agreements. Atrium CEO Gene Woods reportedly reaffirmed the sentiment in an April 5 internal memo, which reportedly stated the health system would honor the physicians' decision to split despite the organizations having been "in the middle of active discussions," according to the report.

3. An attorney working on behalf of the physicians reportedly sent a letter to Atrium April 4 following the health system's public comments condoning the physicians' decision to depart. However, a spokesperson for the medical group told The Charlotte Observer the physicians have only received a one-sentence email from Atrium's lawyer stating the health system is reviewing the lawsuit.

"We believe it is the best interests all parties — Atrium Health, Mecklenburg Multispeciality Group and Mecklenburg Medical Group's current employees and patients — that these matters be resolved without needless delay, and our group's 92 doctors be allowed to operate independently of Atrium Health," K. Dale Owen, MD, a cardiologist spearheading the group's efforts to split with Atrium, told the publication.

4. In an April 9 statement to Becker's Hospital Review, Atrium said, "We continue to want our physicians to stay with Atrium Health and we continue to work with them as appropriate. We stand by our statements and are in the process of determining the most appropriate ways to grant their request."

To access The Charlotte Observer report, click here.

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