HCA Healthcare files motion to dismiss class-action antitrust lawsuit

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare and its local affiliate Mission Health filed a motion to dismiss a class-action antitrust lawsuit that alleges HCA Healthcare holds unlawful monopoly power in Western North Carolina, according to a Sept. 15 report from the Asheville Citizen Times. 

The first lawsuit was initially filed June 3 by the City of Brevard, N.C., and HCA Healthcare was hit with a second lawsuit from the city of Asheville, Buncombe County, and Madison County, which filed companion cases on July 27. Attorneys for HCA and Mission filed a motion to combine both lawsuits on Aug. 5. The new motion to dismiss was filed Sept. 9. 

Each government agency is suing on behalf of its employees who use Mission for necessary medical care. The lawsuits stem from allegations the companies have proliferated anti-competitive, monopolistic practices. 

Asheville and Buncombe County's complaint alleges an "extensive pattern of alleged behavior by HCA intended to monopolize health care markets in Western North Carolina, the result of which is artificially high prices for health care services and a reduced standard of care."

The motion to dismiss the lawsuits emphatically denies those claims, arguing Mission's history in the area speaks for itself.

"In their Complaint, Plaintiffs ignore the last 20-plus years of Mission's history and the legitimate foundations for its success," the new motion states.

HCA Healthcare is one of the nation's largest healthcare providers and consists of 184 hospitals and about 2,000 sites of care.

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