Trinity Health affiliates sue anesthesia provider over noncompetes

Two affiliate hospitals of Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health filed lawsuits Feb. 26 against North American Partners in Anesthesia, alleging the group's noncompete clauses stifle competition and violate antitrust laws. 

St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., and Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., filed lawsuits with similar claims in their respective federal courts. The two claim the nation's largest provider of anesthesia services uses noncompetes "to severely restrict competition and to demand exorbitant payments for critical and understaffed patient services." 

The lawsuits allege NAPA and its business entities have prohibited their anesthesia providers from being employed directly by the hospitals and that the hospitals have been "forced" to file litigation so they can freely offer employment to the providers. 

NAPA employs nearly 5,000 clinicians and works with 400 healthcare facilities nationwide.

"While we are not able to comment further on active litigation, our patients are the priority, and we do all we can to provide timely, high-quality care," a spokesperson for Trinity Health said in a statement. 

NAPA said it does not believe there is any merit to claims made by the defendant. 

"We have and will continue to provide safe and quality anesthesia care to our patients and remain committed to our anesthesia clinicians," a NAPA spokesperson said in a statement to Becker's. "We believe there is no merit to their claims and are prepared to defend against their allegations and seek appropriate relief for the hospitals' actions in the judicial system. Because we are now in active litigation with the hospitals, we cannot provide further responses or comments."

The Trinity affiliates are seeking millions in damages. In 2019, the health system reached a settlement with another anesthesia group, Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor, known as A4, that resolved a dispute over noncompete clauses. 

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