St. Joseph Health hit with anti-trust lawsuit for allegedly stifling competition: 5 things to know

Wahidullah Medical Corp., which owns Eureka, Calif.-based Redwood Urgent Care and its outpatient medical testing laboratory, filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Eureka-based St. Joseph Hospital claiming the hospital used unfair business tactics and stifled competition to protect 10-fold price markups, according to The North Coast Journal.

Here are five things to know.

1. Wahidullah Medical Corp. filed the lawsuit in early April seeking a preliminary injection to bar St. Joseph from attempting to monopolize the outpatient laboratory testing industry. In addition, the medical company is seeking a jury trial, legal fees and damages.

2. The lawsuit claims St. Joseph Hospital, which is owned by Irvine, Calif.-based St. Joseph Health, illegally conspired to stifle competition for medical lab testing in the Eureka market by actively tarnishing its competition's reputation, misleading consumers and implementing an EMR that was incompatible with Redwood Urgent Care.

3. The suit claims lab tests at St. Joseph's medical lab were nearly 10 times more expensive than the Redwood outpatient testing lab, citing an instance where St. Joseph charged a patient without insurance $327 for a vitamin D test — a test that would cost $36 at Redwood for an uninsured patient. Specifically, the suit alleges St. Joseph's failed to inform patients that there was another medical testing facility that could save them money. 

4. "St. Joseph Health … decided to protect its lab-testing business from fair competition by resorting to tortuous and anticompetitive behavior designed to put Redwood Lab out of business and thereby leave consumers of out-patient medical laboratory testing services in Eureka with no option but St. Joseph Health," the lawsuit reads, according to The North Coast Journal.

5. In total, the suit accuses St. Joseph's of seven specific violations of state and federal anti-trust laws.

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