Sentara sued, accused of trying to wipe out Virginia hospital's cardiology business

Chesapeake (Va.) Regional Medical Center is suing Norfolk, Va.-based Sentara, accusing the health system of trying to cripple the medical center's cardiology program to maintain a monopoly in local cardiology services, according to The Virginia Mercury. 

The lawsuit, filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court in late April, claims Sentara poached key cardiologists and interfered with the medical center's 2017 certificate of need application to start an open-heart surgery unit. 

Chesapeake Regional said it decided to sue after Sentara poached seven cardiologists from Bayview Physician Services, a medical group contracted by Chesapeake to provide its existing cardiology services, which nearly upended the program, according to the report.

According to the lawsuit, Sentara has about 70 percent of the cardiology services market but "seeks to eliminate competitors who attempt to encroach on its monopoly service lines," according to the report.

Chesapeake Regional is seeking about $20 million in damages. 

"We are focused on our patients and not-for-profit mission to improve health every day by providing safe and quality care to the communities we serve," Dale Gauding, a spokesman for Sentara said in a statement to The Virginia Mercury. "It is unfortunate that Chesapeake Regional Medical Center chose to file a lawsuit involving a contract dispute, not a certificate of public need, instead of continuing to focus on the communities we serve – especially as we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic together."

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