ProMedica asks court to toss antitrust lawsuit

Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica has asked a federal judge to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit that McLaren St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee, Ohio, filed against it in November. 

McLaren St. Luke's Hospital filed the lawsuit in an attempt to stop ProMedica from terminating St. Luke's from its insurance network. ProMedica notified Grand Blanc, Mich.-based McLaren Health Care in October that the termination of St. Luke's in-network status will be effective Jan. 1, 2021. McLaren Health Care said the termination notice was issued because of its recent acquisition of St. Luke's, which is expected to provide greater competition to ProMedica. 

The lawsuit, pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, alleges ProMedica "engaged in a pattern of monopolistic and anticompetitive behavior designed to maintain and increase its dominant market position by limiting patient choice and causing harm to St. Luke's and its affiliated physicians," according to a Nov. 11 news release from McLaren St. Luke's. 

In addition to providing notice of its intent to drop 300-bed St. Luke's from its health plan networks, the lawsuit alleges ProMedica also terminated eight contracts to provide services on the St. Luke's campus and pressured physicians to stop practicing at the hospital. 

In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, filed Dec. 4, ProMedica claims McLaren's lawsuit is an "abuse of antitrust laws," which "exist to promote competition, not to promote the narrow business interests of a single competitor."

ProMedica claims McLaren's lawsuit is meritless and seeks to require ProMedica to provide physicians and patients to help underwrite McLaren's move into the Toledo region. 

"ProMedica has every right to compete aggressively with its formidable new rival and no duty to step aside and allow a competitor to make off with its physicians, patients, and revenue," ProMedica said. 

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