Lawyers want to combine class-action lawsuits against HCA

Two separate lawsuits, one filed by the city of Brevard, N.C., and a second filed jointly by Buncombe County and the city of Asheville, N.C., could merge into a single large antitrust, class-action lawsuit against Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare and Asheville-based Mission Health, according to an Aug. 5 report from the Asheville Citizen Times.

While not identical, the Brevard and Buncombe-Asheville cases share several similarities. Both allege noncompetitive and monopolistic behavior by HCA Healthcare, which is a for-profit organization. 

The Buncombe-Asheville case was filed July 27, and the Brevard case was filed June 3. Brevard Mayor Maureen Copelof said that both suits represent similar issues. 

"I think that, in terms of identifying the problem and the redress that we're looking at moving forward, our goals and our issues are closely aligned," Ms. Copelof said. 

The city of Brevard's motion to consolidate the cases states that they "present nearly identical questions of law and fact. Each alleges the same underlying conduct: that Defendants (HCA and Mission) unlawfully restrained competition and monopolized the inpatient and outpatient health care markets in Western North Carolina, thereby inflating health care prices paid by Plaintiffs and proposed class member health plans."

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