Michigan health system faces antitrust suit over alleged 'no poach' deal

Munson Healthcare and an anesthesiology practice in Michigan were hit with a federal antitrust lawsuit Aug. 2 over an alleged "no poach" agreement. 

A nurse anesthetist formerly employed by Traverse Anesthesia Associates filed the proposed class action. The lawsuit alleges Traverse City, Mich.-based Munson Healthcare agreed not to recruit anesthesia providers from TAA for at least one year after the person left the anesthesiology practice. The "no poach" agreement restrained competition and reduced compensation for anesthesia providers, the lawsuit alleges. 

"Defendants' agreement not only denied job opportunities that were otherwise available from Munson, but also prevented providers of anesthesia services employed by TAA and Munson from negotiating for better terms and conditions of employment," the complaint states. 

The lawsuit, pending in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, is seeking damages and a declaration from the court that the alleged agreement between Munson and TAA is illegal. 

"Munson Healthcare is in full compliance with all antitrust laws and prepared to defend the allegations made in this lawsuit," Munson Chief Legal Officer Rachel Roe said in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review. "We look forward to the opportunity to address this matter with the court."

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