Bozeman Health hospital monopolized cardiology services, physician claims

Jan. 16 marked the beginning of a 19-day trial to determine whether Bozeman (Mont.) Health Deaconess Hospital created a monopoly and prevented a cardiologist from providing services at the facility and in the surrounding area, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports.

Five things to know:

1. Kipp Webb, MD, an interventional cardiologist, worked for Cardiology Consultants of Bozeman from 2009-11. He was awarded privileges to work in the facility's catheterization lab under a contract between the cardiology group and the hospital.

2. Steve Reida, Dr. Webb's attorney, told the jury Jan. 16 that Dr. Webb was pushed out of his job at the cardiology group by other physicians in the Bozeman area. Mr. Reida said Dr. Webb tried to contract directly with the hospital but was prevented from doing so by hospital administration, who reportedly "went after him," the report states.

3. The attorney said Dr. Webb attempted to start his own practice, but the hospital's exclusive contract with Cardiology Consultants of Bozeman created a monopoly in the area. Dr. Webb also tried working with hospitals in other cities in Montana and Idaho, but was unsuccessful because Bozeman Health Deaconess allegedly intentionally interfered with his prospects, according to the report.

4. However, an attorney for the hospital argued that Dr. Webb's work with the hospital was temporary and that his privileges ended after he terminated his contract with the cardiology group. The lawyer argued that Dr. Webb was responsible for all the issues that befell him after leaving the hospital.

"In the end, we believe it's the simple fact that no one really wants to work with him," the hospital's lawyer said during opening arguments, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

5. The trial is expected to last through Feb. 7.

To access the full report, click here.

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