Anesthesiology group must cut ties with 5 hospitals: Colorado AG

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has announced an agreement with U.S. Anesthesia Partners that resolves the private equity-backed company's alleged anticompetitive business practices that drove up prices for consumers receiving surgical anesthesia services. 

USAP, backed by private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, has agreed to pay $200,000, divest its exclusive contracts at five Colorado hospitals and release and modify noncompete agreements with providers as part of the settlement, the office of the state attorney general said in a Feb. 26 news release. USAP will also end its noncompete agreement practice within 18 months of the agreement taking effect.

"USAP's overall business model focused less on serving patients, and more on increasing profits through acquisitions and anticompetitive tactics," Mr. Weiser said. "Today's action promises to reestablish a competitive market, which will enable better care for patients, lower costs for consumers and fewer employment restrictions for health care professionals."

The five hospitals USAP will end its contracts with are:

  • St. Anthony Hospital (Lakewood)
  • St. Anthony North Hospital (Westminster) 
  • OrthoColorado Hospital (Lakewood) 
  • Longmont United Hospital
  • Mercy Hospital (Durango)

USAP providers serving the above facilities will be allowed to leave the company and continue to service those hospitals to ensure continuity of care. USAP will continue to work with the other hospitals and health systems it serves in Colorado. 

The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing by USAP.

"While we do not agree with the attorney general's viewpoint, this agreement preserves USAP's physician-owned, clinician-led model and our ability to continue serving most of the same Colorado patients and hospital systems we do today," Henri Acosta, MD, a USAP physician in Colorado, said. Our resources are better spent taking care of patients than paying legal fees to defend ourselves against these claims."

USAP and Welsh Carson also face a separate lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission, which alleges that the companies executed an anticompetitive scheme to consolidate anesthesiology practices in Texas, driving up the price of services and increasing their profits.  

The companies told Becker's that they are disappointed with the FTC's decision to bring this case and are confident that they will prove the allegations wrong.

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


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars