Louisiana health system stuck in antitrust suit brought by ex-hospital operator, health plan

BRF, a hospital operator in Shreveport, La., and the regional Vantage Health Plan are surging forward with an antitrust lawsuit against Shreveport-based Willis-Knighton Health System, even though BRF left the hospital business Oct. 1, according to the New Star.

Here are five things to know about the lawsuit:

1. BRF and Vantage Health Plan filed their lawsuit against Willis-Knighton in 2015. The lawsuit alleges the health system conspired with Louisiana State University's Shreveport medical school to run BRF and then-subsidiary University Health Hospital Shreveport out of business. LSU is not being sued.

2. The plaintiffs claim Willis-Knighton, through LSU's medical school, siphoned off commercially-insured patients from BRF and University Health Hospital Shreveport. Vantage claims Willis-Knighton locked it out of the Shreveport market entirely. Vantage covers 50,000 Louisianans, according to the New Star.

3. "We believe that the lawsuit was critical to our survival, and still necessary to protect the Shreveport hospital and the north Louisiana community," BRF said, according to the New Star. "And (BRF) is entitled to damages due to Willis-Knighton's past actions, as claimed in our lawsuit and the proposed supplement to our complaint."

4. Willis-Knighton has denied all allegations from the start and requested the lawsuit be dismissed. Willis-Knighton spokesperson John Kyte told the publication, "WK has a pending summary judgment motion, and does not believe the BRF lawsuit should go forward."

5. BRF turned over operation of the Louisiana's safety-net hospitals in Monroe and Shreveport to Kenner, La.-based Ochsner LSU Health System of North Louisiana Oct. 1. However, BRF retained ownership of its lawsuit, according to the report.

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