Physician sues California hospital chain, claiming its physician poaching killed his practice

A California OB-GYN physician filed a lawsuit against Covina, Calif.-based Citrus Valley Health Partners, claiming the hospital negotiated in bad faith to buy his practice and proceeded to lure away and hire several other physicians at the practice, forcing its closure, according to San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Here are five things to know:

1. Carlos Beharie, MD, owned and operated West Covina-based Citrus Obstetrics and Gynecology since 2002. During that time period, the practice grew to comprise a total of five physicians and delivered between 80 and 100 babies per month, Dr. Beharie told the publication.

2. According to the lawsuit, Citrus Valley Health Partners offered to purchase Dr. Beharie's practice in early 2017, but offered $1 million for the practice, despite the fact the practice brought in revenues of at least $1.4 million annually.

3. Negotiations between the two organizations reportedly stalled in August 2017. Two months later, three physicians employed by Dr. Beharie informed him they planned to leave the practice and instead work for Citrus Valley Health Partners, the lawsuit states.

4. Dr. Beharie said he was forced to close the practice in January. A lawyer for Dr. Beharie told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune Citrus Valley Health Partners used information made available in negotiations to subvert the practice, essentially causing it to close.

5. In a statement to the publication, Citrus Valley Health Partners did not comment on the pending litigation, but said one of its hospitals had worked closely with "physician groups" to provide care to residents in the San Gabriel Valley.

"We will vigorously defend our business practices for delivering high-quality patient care, which is our mission," the statement reads.

To access the full report, click here.

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