HCA's attempt to dismiss antitrust lawsuit denied

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare has been unsuccessful in its attempt to have a proposed antitrust lawsuit dismissed in a North Carolina federal court. 

On Feb. 21, Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger of North Carolina stated that the potential class of North Carolina health plans is currently permitted to proceed with their antitrust claims against HCA, according to court documents obtained by Becker's

The lawsuit, which was filed in June 2022, alleges that HCA engaged in an "anticompetitive scheme involving the illegal maintenance and enhancement of monopoly power" in the acute care hospital and outpatient care markets in seven counties in North Carolina. 

The allegations focus on HCA's 2019 acquisition of Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health. The lawsuit alleges that HCA now holds monopoly power in seven North Carolina counties and has abused that power to inflate prices.

Mission Health is also listed as a defendant in the case. 

"We intend to vigorously defend the lawsuit, while continuing to provide excellent healthcare to the citizens of Western North Carolina," a spokesperson for Mission Health told Becker's in an emailed statement. 

This news comes shortly after CMS sent a letter to Mission Hospital informing its leadership that the 815-bed facility is at immediate risk of losing federal funding due to citations it received in January.

CMS had set a deadline of Feb. 6 for Mission Hospital to submit a plan of correction to address the compliance issues, and the hospital met that deadline.

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